Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious mental health condition that’s is triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or witnessing it which cared them to feel fearful, shocked, or helpless. It can have long-term effects, including flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety.
Examples of events that can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include wars, crime, fires, accidents, death of a loved one, or abuse of some form. Thoughts and memories recur even though the danger has passed. Women are more likely to be affected than men.
Most people who have a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt.
Instead of feeling better as time goes on, the individual may become more anxious and fearful. PTSD can disrupt a person’s life for years.
Symptoms of PTSD most often begin within 3 months of the event. In some cases, however, they don’t begin until years later. The severity and duration of the illness can vary. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have it much longer.
Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into four main categories, including –
• Reliving or intrusion
People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma. such as the anniversary date of the event.
The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind them of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
• Increased arousal
These include excessive emotions, problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection, difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, and being jumpy or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
• Negative cognitions and mood
This one refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event. The person started having negative thoughts about themselves, reduced interest in activities you once loved, difficulty maintaining close relationships, feeling detached from family and friends, difficulty experience positive emotions, and hopelessness about the future.
Young children with PTSD may have delayed development in areas such as toilet training, motor skills, and language.
In addition, people with PTSD may experience depression and panic attacks.
Panic attacks can cause symptoms like –
• A racing or pounding heart
The intensity of PTSD may vary. You may have more symptoms when you feel stress in general, or when you encounter a specific reminder about what happened.
You can develop post-traumatic stress disorder when you go through, see or learn about an event involving actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation.
Doctors are not sure why some people get PTSD. As with most mental health problems, PTSD is probably caused by a complex mix of –
• Stressful experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you have gone through in your life.
• Inherited features of your personality- often called your temperament.
• Inherited mental health risks, such as a family history of anxiety and depression.
• The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress.
Risk Factors –
People of all ages can have PTSD. However, some factors may make you more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event such as –
• Experiencing intense or long-lasting trauma
• Have experienced other trauma earlier in life, such as childhood abuse
• Lacking a good support system of family and friends
• Having a job that increases your risk of being exposed to traumatic events, such as military personnel and first responders
• Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
• Having problems with substance misuse, such as excess drinking or drug use
• Having blood relatives with mental health problems, including anxiety or depression
Kinds of traumatic events
The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include –
• Combat exposure
• Physical assault
• Sexual violence
• Childhood physical abuse
• Being threatened with a weapon
• An accident
PTSD can disrupt your whole life. Having PTSD may also increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as –
• Depression and anxiety
• Difficulty with work or relationships
• Higher risk of heart problems
• Eating disorders
• Issues with drugs or alcohol use
• Possibility of changes that affect the brain for memory processing and emotion
• Suicidal thoughts and actions
To diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, your doctor will likely –
• Perform a physical exam
• Do a psychological evaluation
• Use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM-5)
Treatment usually involves psychotherapy, counseling, medication, or a combination.
Options for psychotherapy will be specially tailored for managing trauma which includes –
• Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Also known as cognitive restructuring the individual learns how to think about things in a new way. Mental imagery of the traumatic event may help them work through the trauma, to gain control of the fear and distress.
• Exposure Therapy
Talking repeatedly about the event or confronting the cause of the fear in a safe and controlled environment may help the person feel they have more control over their thoughts and feelings.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as paroxetine, are commonly used. SSRIs also help treat depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
Sometimes, benzodiazepines may be used to treat irritability, insomnia, and anxiety.
• Experimental Therapies
▪︎Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
▪︎Cortisone hormone therapy
Active coping is a key part of recovery. It enables a person to accept the impact of the event they have experienced and take action to improve their situation.
The following can help in achieving this –
• Learning about PTSD and understanding that an ongoing response is normal and the recovery takes time
• Accepting that healing does not necessarily mean forgetting, but gradually feeling less bothered by the symptoms and having confidence in the ability to cope with the bad memories.
Other things that can help include –
• Practicing relaxation, breathing, or meditation techniques
• Doing some physical exercise, such as swimming, walking or yoga
• Listening to quiet music or spending time in nature
• Accepting that PTSD is not a sign of weakness but can happen to anyone
• Participating in enjoyable activities that can provide distraction
• Finding someone to confide in
• Spending time with other people who know what has happened
• Letting people know what might trigger symptoms
• Some herbs that can be used to calm in PTSD
° Manasmitra Vatika
° Brahmi Vati
For more informative articles on health issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult.