Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), also known as battle fatigue syndrome, is a debilitating mental health condition that can occur after a person has experienced or witnessed an overly traumatic, terrifying, or tragic event, such as warfare, assault, disaster, injury, or death threat.
Individuals with PTSD usually have uncontrollable, frightening thoughts and memories associated with their traumatic ordeals and feel intense fear, helplessness, emotional numbness, and/or horror.
However, it’s not that every person who has gone through a disturbing event will develop PTSD. It’s natural to experience difficulty adjusting and coping for a while after an incident. Experienced Christian drug treatment counselors specializing in dual diagnosis conditions will be able to coach you through even the most traumatic experiences.
PTSD is a progressive disorder
The stressful memories and frightening feelings fade with time and good self-care. For people with PTSD, however, they persist and increase overtime, getting so worse that they interfere with the normal functioning.
Most people relate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to warfare, but it’s not the only trigger behind the disorder. Any traumatic life event can result PTSD, particularly if the experience feels unbearable and overwhelming.
PTSD may affect those who experienced the terrifying incident, those who witnessed it, and those who later move or inspect the remains, including emergency personnel, rescue workers, and law enforcement officers. Friends or family members of victims may also develop it.
Signs and Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
A person can develop PTSD just after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, but it can also take weeks, months, or even years to develop the condition. Most often, symptoms of PTSD appear within three months of the event.
PTSD symptoms are typically grouped into three types:
- Re-experiencing or intrusion symptoms
- Intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts and memories of the terrifying event
- Flashbacks — re-experiencing the trauma as if the event is occurring again
- Nightmares or bad dreams
- Intense emotional and physical reactions to something (e.g. places, situations, objects, words) that is a reminder of the event
- Avoidance symptoms
- Avoiding people, places, objects, or activities that are reminders of the traumatic event
- Being emotionally numb
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Detachment and isolation from friends, loved ones, or family members
- Difficulty remembering important phases of the incident
- Loss of interest about the future
- Hyperarousal symptoms
- Being easily frightened or startled
- Feeling strong shame, guilt, remorse, or worry
- Irritability, increased temper, or angry outbursts
- Hypervigilance (feeling of always “on edge”)
- Difficulty eating, sleeping, or concentrating
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Self-assessment
Are you suspecting that you may have PTSD? Simply ask yourself the following questions to help determine whether you have PTSD symptoms or not. If you identify yourself with two or more of the following symptoms, consider seeking professional help and support.
- Have you experienced or witnessed a traumatic event that involved injury or death, or the threat of injury or death?
- Did you feel intense fear, panic, helplessness, or horror during the event?
- Do you have frightening thoughts and memories associated with the traumatic ordeals?
- Do you relive the trauma as if the event were occurring again?
- Do you feel intense emotional and physical distress to something that reminds you of the incident?
- Are you avoiding everything (e.g. people, places, situations, objects) that are reminders of the event?
- Have you detached and isolated from your friends, loved ones, or family members?
- Do you have difficulty remembering an important aspect of the incident?
- Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed?
- Are you easily frightened or startled?
- Do you feel worthless or guilty?
- Are you having difficulty concentrating, since the event?
- Did you have outbursts of anger?
- Are you having difficulty falling or staying asleep?
Please note that the above questions are prepared for informational purposes only and are not designed to serve as a screening or assessment tool for PTSD. Diagnosis of PTSD requires a thorough screening and assessment by a qualified, trained professional, preferably a psychiatrist.
How to Help Someone with a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
If your loved one is suffering from PTSD, supporting him/her can be a roller coaster for you. But it’s important to seek professional help and support right away. Effective treatments are now available for people with PTSD. The sooner it is confronted, the easier it will be to overcome.