Have you come across the name PTSD? Well, the full name is a posttraumatic stress disorder. This is a psychiatric condition that affects someone who has gone through trauma.
Trauma is the emotive response the body gives when it encounters life-threatening events such as disasters, sexual assault, accidents, etc. Trauma exists in various types such as acute trauma, chronic trauma, and complex trauma.
During World War 1 & 2, PTSD was given names such as shell shock and combative shock. Some facts from The Recovery Village is that around 70% of adults encounter one type of trauma in their life. Further, one person in every 13 people in the World has a chance of developing PTSD.
In addition, across the globe, 20% of people who go through a trauma have very high chances of battling PTSD.
There are some questions on whether PTSD is a disability? Well, PTSD is put into consideration for disability privileges. However, the documentation has to be done well.
Generally, patients with PTSD battle negative thoughts that are beyond their control. Having PTSD is not someone’s fault because anyone can develop this condition.
In this article, we wish to share more details on PTSD to help you get more details about this condition and take necessary measures.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The symptoms of PTSD are not instant after the trauma happens, at times takes weeks, months, or years. When they creep in, the challenges of the patient’s experience in social relationships and work.
In extreme circumstances, patients are unable to conduct their daily chores. These symptoms fall under 4 main categories: disturbing memories, dodging, mood changes, and expressive emotions.
Disturbing memories are remembrances of past happenings that cause sadness and increase anxiety levels.
Some memories include hallucinations, nightmares, and being reactive to anything that triggers memories of the trauma. Some reminders of the traumas may also include tastes, smells, and sounds.
Dodging is similar to avoidance. Basically, people battling PTSD tend to avoid anything that can trigger memories. Some reminders include a place, an activity, items, or a location.
Someone batting with PTSD tends to downplay the urge to remember or talk about the traumatic events in the hope that memories will go away.
Mood changes and Variations in thoughts
To begin with, anyone with PTSD tends to forget some aspects of past events and they end up blaming themselves.
Further, their mood changes to sadness, guilt, blaming themselves, and feeling shame in the case of sexual assault victims. In addition, they may hate things that excited them
Anger outbursts are common for victims of PTSD. They easily take offense to the slightest happening in their life. Further, they suffer from sleeping disorders due to their ever-changing emotions.
In worst-case scenarios, PTSD can cause someone to drink too much.
Difference between acute stress disorder (ASD) and PTSD?
Acute stress disorder is the initial traumatic symptoms that arise immediately after a traumatic event. PTSD refers to the long-term aftermath of trauma. Research shows that if you have ASD, there are higher chances that you will get PTSD.
Major Causes of PTSD
PTSD has various causes, however, the bottom line is an event that causes trauma. In addition, some PTSD cases develop and medics are not sure of the exact cause of the condition.
Below are the main causes of post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Road accidents
- Cases of assault such as sexual, attacks, battering, and theft
- Chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer, etc
- Genetic mental health cases that have a family line
- Losing a child at birth
- Death of someone close
- Abuse such as domestic violence or child abuse
- Cases of torture
Risk factors for PTSD
In regard to PTSD, there are some issues that increase the chances of someone suffering from this condition. Interestingly, not everyone who goes through trauma ends up with PTSD.
Below are some of the risk factors of PTSD according to therapy experts;
People who abuse drugs have higher chances of ending up with PTSD. This is major because drugs tamper with sobriety and aptitude to face situations and get solutions. When someone is into addiction, they suppress thoughts and memories that can come haunting later on in life
Lack of social support
When someone goes through a traumatic condition, they require a support system to help them cope and heal from trauma. Lack of this kind of support has a negative effect on the healing process and the victim may end up with PTSD.
Anyone who has a history of violence, sexual assault, accidents, and disasters has the likelihood of battling PTSD. When such a person is exposed to a new trauma they are likely to suffer PTSD.
When one’s mental capacity has impairment they have the likelihood of battling PTSD.
Some of the other risk factors for PTSD include:
- Being offended
- Death of a close relative or person
- Feeling of helplessness
- Trauma from childhood
Treatment for PTSD
Treatment for PTSD is available and accessible to everyone. The main treatment involves medication and talk therapy. In some cases, both are used by specialists to achieve the desired results.
Depending on the PTSD specialist you visit they will recommend the best treatment for you.
The first treatment for PTSD is the use of anti-depressants. The purpose is to cure symptoms such as stress, anger, numbness, fear, depression, and anxiety. You can find out more information on treating PTSD medically on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. This is the resource site for guiding you and sharing the latest research on medication.
Some of the recommended medications for PTSD by the National Center for PTSD are Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Venlafaxine (Effexor).
This is also known as psychotherapy. This is where a PTSD specialist schedules one on one sessions for therapy. The duration ranges from a month and a half to 3 months but this can extend depending on the condition.
Talk therapy is more effective when the family also offers their support. The good thing with talk therapy is that you receive education and tips on how to heal from PTSD.
In some cases, the specialist can adopt exposure therapy where you get an opportunity to write, remember and visit the place where the trauma took place so that you can heal. This helps process the emotions and also heal better.
Role of talk therapists in helping you recover from PTSD
A talk therapist is someone who has training in helping your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors post-traumatic event. There are four main types of talk therapies cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and humanistic therapy.
The roles of talk therapists include:
- Educating victims of trauma
- Helping PTSD victims overcome anger and relax
- Offering healthy eating tips, exercises, and eating habits.
- Helping victims deal with the effects of trauma
- Lastly, helping victims handle their post-PTSD trauma conditions.
How to select the best talk therapist
Finding the best talk therapist is an awesome step toward your healing journey. There are various ways in which you can settle on the best talk therapist around you.
- Research the various types of talk therapies and choose what works for you
- Get referrals from friends and other people
- Come up with a list of talk therapists from recommendations and settle on one
- You can also consider online therapy
- Trust your instincts when settling on the best talk therapist.
This is a type of PTSD that opens you up to a realistic approach to what took place. In as much as you may feel guilty or shameful, the therapist helps you make sense of all the things that happened and you overcome them.
Factors that promote faster recovery from PTSD
Healing for PTSD is a process that involves health experts. However, there are some ways in which you can speed up recovery from PTSD, these include;
- Seek support when you go through trauma because no man is an island
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid abusing drugs
- Get professional help from a therapist
- Always remain positive despite any challenging thing that finds you
- Engage in outdoor activities to remain distracted
- Talk to a person you trust
- Seek treatment early in case of a traumatic occurrence
Across the board, PTSD is treatable, however, some people with PTSD do not access the support they need. For this reason, the month of June is global PTSD awareness month.
During this month education content is created across continents to educate people on PTSD and reduce stigmatization against victims,
All of us may at one-point experience trauma and some may end up with PTSD. The best we can do is educate ourselves about the condition. In case you have any questions regarding PTSD, you can leave them in our comments section.