About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects about 7.7 million American adults, and children can have the disorder too.
Post traumatic stress disorder can occur after a traumatic event or set of events. They often time involve a terrifying ordeal or physical harm. The person who experiences PTSD may have experienced the physical harm or threat, or they may have witnessed it happen to a loved one or even a stranger.
Oftentimes, our natural bodies are wired with a “fight or flight” mentality that triggers as an adrenaline rush that is a healthy reaction to help defend us against danger. This healthy trigger is damaged in those with post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD was first brought to public attention with regards to war veterans, but through more ongoing research, it can also be found in rape victims, from being tortured, kidnapped, from being in car accidents, having survived natural disasters, or in children who have suffered abuse; the list goes on.
Symptoms of PTSD
- Severe Anxiety
- Uncontrollable thoughts about the event
- Staying away from places or objects that are reminders of the experience
- Feeling numb emotionally
- Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Having trouble sleeping
Complications of PTSD
- PTSD can affect your job and your relationships
- It can cause depressions and anxiety
- Issues with drugs and alcohol
- Eating disorders
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
When to See a Doctor
If you start having disturbing thoughts about suicide, or cannot shake thoughts about a disturbing event for several weeks, and it’s difficult to get your life back on track and your thoughts under control, then you should see a health professional. Don’t be fearful or ashamed to disclose your thoughts and concerns.
Treatment and Drugs for PTSD
Don’t lose hope. Treatment over post traumatic stress disorder can help you regain control over your life and help teach you the skills to address symptoms and learn coping mechanism to regain some balance in your life.
Oftentimes, a combination of medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy) can be most effective. Medications usually include anti-anxiety and antidepressants, or Prazosin for insomnia.
Psychotherapy has several different approaches to dealing with PTSD. Cognitive Therapy helps you recognize various unhealthy cognitive patterns and negative perceptions of situations and how to adjust those patterns of thought to get out of that mental rut.
Exposure Therapy helps your gradual exposure to triggering situations become less daunting so that automatic reactions of withdrawal or panic are not recurring symptoms. Lastly, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), is a combination of exposure therapy and a series of guided eye movements, to help change your typical reaction to those traumatic memories.
All these approaches can help you gain control over your fear from past traumatic events. Discuss your options today with a healthcare professional to regain freedom and joy back into your life.
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