From medical journals to stories we hear from friends every single day, the number of people suffering in silence from post-traumatic stress disorders is too high. Well, it ‘s okay to feel sad, frightened or anxious after a very traumatic experience or event; however, what are you doing about it. To help people understand the problem further here is all you need to know about post-traumatic stress disorder.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PSTD can develop after a traumatic experience or event that threatens you safety or make you helpless. While most victims associate PSTD with rape and military combat in men, naturally, any event like a natural disaster, kidnapping, terrorist attacks or a car crash that frighten and overwhelms you with feelings of helplessness can trigger this type of disorder. People that can be affected by PTSD may include;
- anyone who personally went through the traumatic event
- People who pick up pieces after an event like emergency workers and firefighters
- People who witness the event
- Family members or friends of those who experience the trauma.
Types of PTSD
There are five main types of PSTD
Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder is commonly characterized by panic reactions, severe insomnia, mental confusion, dissociation. The person with this type of disease often finds it hard to manage even basic self-care, relationship and work. The victim has this more severe reaction, except when the trauma is a lasting catastrophe that pushes him or her to destruction or even death.
Standard stress response
This often affects adults; it occurs when a healthy person who has gone through a single traumatic event that only known to him or her in adulthood experience intense bad memories, feelings of unreality or emotional numbing and distress. A victim may recover in within a week, and group debriefing experience is helpful.
This type of PSTD is characterized by persistent re-experiencing of the traumatic event and avoidance of any stimuli that is related to the trauma.
Also known as disorder of extreme stress, Complex PSTD affects people who have been a subject of a traumatic event for a very long time, especially during childhood. The person with this disorder exhibits behavioral difficulties like sexual acting out, impulsivity, alcohol or drug abuse and aggression.
This is more common than uncomplicated PSTD and is often associated with at least one other major psychiatric disorder such as panic disorder, depression or even alcohol or substance abuse.
Symptoms of PSTD
PSTD manifest differently from one person to another. While one can develop some symptoms almost immediately, for some people, it can take weeks, months or even years before they appear. All in all, here are three main types of symptoms.
Re-experiencing the traumatic event
Many at times, this may include flashbacks, upsetting memories, nightmares, and feeling of distress when you are reminded of the event. You also start sweating, feeling nauseous or your heart pounding.
These symptoms include having difficulty concentrating, trouble sleep, and outburst of anger or feeling jumpy.
Avoiding any reminder related to the event
Most people often try as much a possible to avoid activities, thoughts or places that may remind them of the trauma. The victim feels detached from others, and emotionally numb or worse lose interest in any activity and life in general, sensing only a limited future for himself/herself.
Others common symptoms include shame, guilt, depression, substance abuse and physical aches and pains among others.
Symptoms found in Children
Unlike adults, PSTD symptoms in young children can be completely different. A child suffering from this disorder may exhibit the following
- Fear of being separated from parent/guardian,
- Trouble sleeping alone at night
- Irritability and aggression
- Losing previously acquired skill or skills like using the toilet
Truth be told, any traumatic event or experience can be hard to accept, but taking the feeling heads on and seeking help from a professional is one of the best ways to deal effectively with PSTD. What many people don’t know is that it is very much possible for PTSD to be successfully treated several months after the event happened. What does that mean? It means it is never too late to go for help and have the problem addressed, and your life is returned to normalcy again.
Normally, before any treatment is commenced, a very detailed evaluation of your symptoms and current condition will be done so as to make sue the kind of therapy that will be offered is tailored to meet your individual needs. Many at times, you may be requested to see to see some mental heath specialist like a psychologist or even psychiatrist.
Top Treatment For PSTD
SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) medicine
These are the antidepressant medication that can help you feel less worried and sad. They are quite helpful and for some individual they are highly effective.
Also known as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, EMDR is a new treatment. It involves making side-to-side eye movement based on your therapist’s finger movement while recalling the traumatic experience event. In fact, EMDR has come out as one of the best ways to reduce symptoms of PTSD.
There are different types of counseling therapies that you can go for today, but some of the most efficient treatments include.
- Cognitive therapy; with this, you learn to change thought about the event that is not true or that cause you stress
- Exposure therapy; within a very safe, you are made to talk about the event over and over until you have less fear
You may be advised by your psychologist to go for a group therapy. Studies have shown that speaking about your experience with other people who are currently battling with PTSD may prove to be very helpful. At these group therapies, you can be taught how to manage your symptoms effectively. It is that simple.
In the end, if you are suffering from the disorder or you know a person with the problem, it is important you seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment can make your symptoms less intense or even stop them from coming back.