Are you or your loved one is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Here is your ultimate and complete guide.
What PTSD Disorder Is?
Post traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disease that affects people who witness or experience a disturbing event such as a natural disaster, a life-threatening accident, a terrorist attack, war/fight, rape, being threatened with death, or sexual violence.
PTSD was better known as “shellshock” in the years of World War I and “fight fatigue” in the era of World War II.
However, It affects people of all cultures, races, and ethnicities, and not veterans only. Five percent of U.S. people every year, and an envisioned 1 out of 11 individuals suffer from PTSD in their entire life.
Women are two times as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups in the USA tend to be more involved – Latino, African, and Indians – they are the ones who have the most tendency to be affected and live with it than non-Latino whites.
Here are some causes of post traumatic stress disorder:
- Road traffic accident
- Death of a loved one
- Sexual assault
- Military combat
- Personal assaults
- After childbirth
- Chronic health issues
- Natural disorders like an earthquake
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD Symptoms
Symptoms of PTSD fall into 4 categories.
Intrusion causes the victims to experience post-traumatic unwanted memories. It results in flashbacks that make individuals experience nightmares about the traumatic event.
It refers to avoiding people, places, sports, items, and situations that remind them of distressing moments. They also avoid speaking about their trauma as doing so causes them to relive bad memories.
People with post traumatic stress disorder experience disturbed thinking, feelings of hopelessness, emotional numbness, and inability to maintain healthy relationships with their family and friends. They lose interest in everything including activities that they once enjoyed. The negative thoughts eventually transfer into depressed individuals.
CHANGES IN AROUSAL
You might have symptoms like increased irritability, easily frightened, and expecting danger 24/7, self-destructive and aggressive behavior, difficulty in sleeping, overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt.
In easier words you might experience the following some or all of them:
- A pounding heart
- Feeling of numbness
- Easily frightened
- Reminders of the trauma
What to do to Keep Symptoms in Check?
If disturbing thoughts related to a traumatic event experienced in the past persist for more than a month, it is better to seek treatment as soon as possible. Ignorance in this regard could result in serious problems like losing control over normal life and having suicidal thoughts.
In addition, as symptoms worsen, the ability to cope up with them also diminishes as well are the positive reactions towards the situations. They feel helpless and out of bounds. Hence, reaching out to friends or close family members may help avoid engaging in self-harm or self-destructive behavior.
Other Complications Related to PTSD
PTSD is a serious mental health condition. If left untreated and undiagnosed individuals find it difficult to carry on with their daily routine, job, activities, family, and personal relations, and become vulnerable to other disorders like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Therefore, the best remedy to avoid worsening PTSD is to seek timely help from a mental health professional.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD Diagnosis
Diagnosis is usually done by a health care practitioner, psychiatrist, or psychologist. If you are experiencing the above symptoms followed by some mental trauma in the past you must seek professional help.
There’s no particular test available for diagnosis. The general rule of thumb method that is used by professionals also is that you must experience the below symptoms at least for one month or more:
- One intrusion symptom
- One avoidance symptom
- Two arousal symptoms
- Two cognition symptoms
Symptoms must be severe enough that they interfere with your daily routine and activities, your relationships, friends, or family.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD Treatment
Once the diagnosis is made you might be advised to take prescribed therapy or medication, or a combination of both as your treatment by your health care provider.
It is also known as cognitive therapy that supports you to concoct the traumatic event and change your perspective towards it.
You will again experience details of the trauma in a reliable environment. This can help desensitize you to the memories of that event and help in overcoming your symptoms.
Classes of drugs that help in treating post traumatic stress disorder are:
- Sleeping pills
Benefits of Journaling in Coping with PTSD
It is hard indeed to cope with traumatic life events but one has to move on to achieve success. Life is just like water. It has to keep moving to keep fresh, alert, and ready to take on challenges. The moment life stops, it starts decaying physically, mentally as well as spiritually.
That said, one of the best ways to cope with severe disorders like PTSD is maintaining a journal where a victim can write down all their thoughts regularly. Writing helps identify negative thoughts and how they impact life.
HOW DOES IT HELP?
Most of the thoughts triggered by mental disorders are irrational and have nothing to do with reality. In the same way, people who suffer from a traumatic life event develop erroneous patterns of thinking and believe them as they are true.
Besides, people also become delusional when experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. This is where journaling plays a significant role. It increases self-awareness and helps one change their thinking patterns.
However, it takes conscious practice and involves repeating positive self-affirmations. For instance, let’s say you or someone in your family has PTSD and suffers from low self-esteem and hopelessness—a tell-tale symptom of the disorder—repeating positive thoughts in your mind and visualizing yourself achieving success, take care of yourself, and believe that you deserve better in life can help change your subconscious mind.
The more you think about yourself as a worthy and competent member of society, the more positive you will become with time.
The Bottom Line
Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness that must not be neglected. Please consult a doctor as soon as possible if you or your family member is experiencing some or all symptoms. You can explore some more tips on how to live with PTSD and get back your happiness and joy to live a happy and wholesome life.
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