Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trauma and stress disorders can cause a variety of symptoms that can make daily life difficult. Common symptoms of trauma and stress disorders include depression, anxiety, stress, and fear.

It is important that people who are suffering from trauma and stress disorders receive the proper diagnosis and care so that they can effectively manage their symptoms and improve their daily life. Keep reading to learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of condition that affects a person’s mental health. PTSD is generated by a certain event. The person who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder may have witnessed or experienced the event. The type of events that may cause post-traumatic stress disorder include abuse, sexual assault, car accidents, witnessing death, extreme situations, natural disasters, being threatened, torture, kidnapping, war, and any other traumatic events. Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause many symptoms including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, issues with daily life, difficulty focusing, fear and more. It isn’t known why some people will suffer from PTSD and others will not, but it is thought to be a mix of factors. These factors may include a family history of mental disorders including anxiety and depression, personal mental health issues and temperament, history of traumatic experiences, reactions to stress, childhood abuse, substance abuse, history of physical abuse and more.

PTSD Symptoms

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder often begin within a month of the traumatic event or experience, but some people may not begin to experience symptoms until months or even years after the event initially took place. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can cause issues with personal relationships, careers, social events and daily living. The symptoms of PTSD of divided into four different groups include:

  • Intrusive Memories
    • Recurrent memories of the trauma
    • Experiencing flashbacks of the traumatic events
    • Nightmares and terrors about the event
    • Intense reactions (physical and emotional) to something that reminders of the trauma
  • Avoidance
    • Trying to completely avoid thinking about the trauma
    • Avoiding places, people, events and things that remind the person of the event
  • Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking
    • Negative thinking about oneself
    • Negative thinking about others
    • Hopelessness
    • Difficulty remembering things
    • Difficulty with relationships
    • Lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
    • Difficulty feeling happy
    • Feeling numb emotionally
  • Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Self-destructive behavior
    • Being on high alert
    • Difficulty focusing
    • Feeling guilt and shame
    • Irritability
    • Anger issues

The symptoms of PTSD can be triggered by reminders or things that are similar to what was experienced during the trauma.

PTSD Diagnosis

Post-traumatic stress disorder is diagnosed by a doctor using a variety of tests and exams. The doctor will often perform a physical examination to rule out medical issues that may be causing the person’s symptoms. The doctor will also perform a psychological examination which will include asking about symptoms that the person is experiencing. The doctor will also ask about certain events that may have caused the trauma which may have been personally experienced, witnessed or affected by. The doctor will also use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose PTSD.

PTSD Test

There are certain screening tests and questionnaires available that can help to determine if a person is suffering from PTSD. These tests can help to identify who may have PTSD, but they should not be used as a substitute for a diagnosis by a doctor. These screening tests may show that further investigation into trauma symptoms is needed.

PTSD Treatment

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder can help a person to feel better by improving symptoms and overall quality of life. Treatment for PTSD often involves a combination of treatments to achieve the best results. Treatment options often include:

  • Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy is often used to treat children and adults suffering from PTSD.
    • Common types of psychotherapy used for treating people with PTSD include cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, group therapy, individual therapy and more.
  • Creating a coping plan
    • A coping plan allows for a patient to utilize tools, practice self-care and allow for support
  • Medications

It is important for people who are suffering from PTSD to get medical help and professional treatment so that they can manage their symptoms and improve their daily life.

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