Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder triggered by or caused due to an unpleasant, shocking, distressing or terrifying experience. People with PTSD may have nightmares, severe anxiety, stress or feeling frightened even if they are not in danger.
There are various events that can lead to a post traumatic stress disorder, such as:
- Road traffic accidents
- Death of near ones
- Serious health conditions
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Child abuse
- Domestic abuse
- War and conflict
- Childbirth experience
- Being threatened
- Terrorist attack
The exact reason how PTSD develops after these events is not clear. Possible reasons are:
- High adrenaline rush
- Changes in brain functions
- Inherited features
Symptoms can vary widely in people. Symptoms that occur in PTSD are mainly of four types:
- Re-experiencing or intrusive memories
- Distressing images of the event in mind
- Physical sensations such as sweating
- Avoids thinking or talking about the event
- Avoiding people, situations, activities and places that reminds of the trauma
- Alterations in mood
- Memory problems
- Negative thoughts about yourself and others
- Inability or difficulty in experiencing positive emotions
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
- Anger outbursts
- Self-destructive behaviours
- Easily frightened
- Sleeping difficulties
Diagnosis of a post traumatic stress disorder involves:
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Physical examination
- Psychological evaluation
- DSM 5 criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders)
There is no sure way to avoid traumas and the stress disorder that occurs after it. In majority of people, the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder may not be long lasting. The intensity of emotional pain reduces with time. To get better quicker and to avoid worsening of the condition, the following steps can be taken:
- Share your experience and feelings with your dear ones
- Practise relaxation techniques
- Identify yourself as a survivor as opposed to the victim
- Seek help at the earliest signs
- Continue treatment plans strictly
- Lead a healthy life
- Avoid drugs and alcohols that can worsen the condition further.
Psychotherapy and medications are the main treatment options for a post traumatic stress disorder.
- Medications: antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are being used.
- Psychotherapy: a treatment method in which you learn about your thoughts, emotions, feelings, moods or behaviours and helps you to eliminate or control your troubling symptoms. Different methods or types of psychotherapy are used in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder.
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