Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, what is it?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is a mental health condition that can appear from experiencing or seeing a traumatic event.

Most people who experience a traumatic event will naturally need to adjust and recover from the experience. With time and good self-care, usually they will improve and get back to normal. In the case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the symptoms get worse, can last for months or even years, and may affect your day-to-day functioning.

What are the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

It can cause symptoms like mild to severe anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, erratic behaviour, distress, hyper-vigilance, negative mood, hyperactivity, mood swings, poor concentration and avoidance of things that trigger or remind of the event. These symptoms can significantly affect a persons ability to operate from day to day in managing tasks, work or in navigating life.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Recurrent memories of the traumatic event
  • Dreams about the traumatic event
  • Insomnia
  • Severe emotional or physical reactions to things that reminds you of the event
  • Avoiding thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Memory issues
  • Easily startled or frightened
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Feelings of detached from loved ones
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Poor cognitive function
  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behaviour

What are the causes of PTSD?

Causes may include experiencing or witnessing:

  • Car accident
  • Fatal injury
  • Combat
  • Physical violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Bullying
  • Attacks on your identity or race
  • Childbirth
  • Emotional abuse (defined as Complex Post Traumatic Stress)
  • Severe injury
  • Neglect

Every person is different so these causes may vary as may the severity of the symptoms.

What triggers a PTSD event?

Experiences similar to the actual traumatic event often will trigger anxiety, dissociation, emotional volatility and other symptoms as per above. These triggers may include smells, sounds, similar situations or locations. People  can also be triggered by things like anniversaries or high stress situations.

How is it treated?

There are numerous ways to treat this condition and often a combination of treatments may be worth considering. Stress management is a key element to improving quality of life and reducing attacks. It is important not to take this disorder lightly as it can have severe consequences if left untreated. Other methods of treatment may include:

Some additional considerations may be engaging in relaxation activities like Yoga, grounding techniques, breathing exercises, meditation and mindfulness, physical activity, diet, regular sleep pattern, outdoor activity, seeking support from loved ones, engaging in enjoyable activities. Enjoy very person is different and so every case of PTSD needs to have an individualised approach and may require some time to find the best combination of options.

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Jeff Shearer has been in practice since 1995 and
loves sharing his knowledge on better ways to live.