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What is PTSD?

man who needs help with PTSD

Are You Struggling With PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. PTSD affects people from all walks of life and can occur immediately after a traumatic event, or it can occur weeks, months, or even years later.

According to the National Center for PTSD, about six percent of Americans will have PTSD at some point in their lives, and about 15 million adults suffer from the condition every year. Examples of events that can lead to Post-traumatic stress disorder include anything from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tornadoes, to serious car accidents, combat, and acts of violence.

PTSD Symptoms

People who develop PTSD may experience emotional symptoms like depression, severe anxiety, anger, and irritability- but PTSD can also cause strong physical reactions that can be triggered by something that brings back memories of the traumatic event. For example, someone with PTSD might have a panic attack when they see fire after being involved in a fire accident.

People with PTSD also report experiencing intrusive thoughts, vivid flashbacks, and nightmares about the traumatic event. In most cases, the memories or flashbacks can be so strong that it feels like the event was happening all over again. This causes reduced sleep quality, which in turn makes it hard to concentrate during the day.

In addition to persistent intrusive memories that lead to crippling fear, PTSD patients may also experience emotional numbness, excessive fear, guilt, loss of interest in daily activities, and a feeling of “detachment” from others. In extreme cases, PTSD can lead to self-destructive behavior and thoughts of suicide.

Who Is At Risk Of Getting PTSD?

Anyone who experiences or lives through a traumatic event is at risk for developing PTSD, but not everyone will develop the condition after experiencing something traumatic. In addition to trauma, there are other factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing PTSD. They include:

  • Having a family history of depression or other mental health problems
  • Previous history of trauma
  • Poor coping skills
  • Absence of social support
  • Substance abuse problems
  • History of abuse
  • Gender – women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men

Managing PTSD

If a trauma survivor starts experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, getting professional help from a therapist or counselor can be beneficial. In many cases, PTSD treatment also includes the use of medication to help ease the symptoms and enable the patient to become more responsive to therapy.

In addition to traditional treatments, many people are also finding relief from symptoms of PTSD by practicing relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. These techniques include meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, massage therapy, and music therapy.

Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, practicing good sleeping hygiene, learning to cope with stress, and creating a social support system can also help ease the symptoms of PTSD.

It is worth noting that every case of PTSD is different, and there is no “one size fits all” approach for treating PTSD. As such, it’s important to discuss all available treatment options with your doctor or therapist and keep an open mind about trying different types of treatment until you find what works for you.

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