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What is Posttraumatic stress disorder?

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   2 min     

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When a person is victim or witness to a life-threatening event like an accident, assault or disaster there is a possibility of them developing a mental health problem called PTSD.

This condition is basically an after-effect stress condition that develops due to a traumatic experience that hugely impacts their life.

How does PTSD develop?

It is normal to have upsetting memories and issues sleeping after a life-altering event. Most people begin to feel better after a couple of weeks and start getting back to their everyday activities but, if these conditions remain even after a few months, chances are you might have PTSD.

This condition is not a sign of weakness and can happen to anybody because it’s not under one’s control. Factors like the intensity and period of the event or an injury during the event increase the chances PTSD. If a person has had previous experiences and does not receive social support, posttraumatic stress occurrence is more likely.

Symptoms

These symptoms develop soon after the event but could even appear months or years later and can come and go.

Having flashbacks of the event like nightmares or a feeling that you are going through it again.

You tend to get into a shell to avoid thinking or talking about the event or even meeting people who trigger memories of that day.

It creates a negative psychological impact and makes you feel like you can’t trust anybody, refuse to feel positive or happy and even withdraw from activities you liked to do previously.

It hugely impacts your behavior and you begin to experience mood swings. You constantly feel like you are in danger, have sleeping disorders, shock or get angry easily. It could even result in you developing unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking or drugs.

The symptoms are never the same for everyone and vary depending on the person and the kind of trauma they went through.

They could also experience other issues like depression, anxiety or feelings of shame, hopelessness or despair. It could also be employment or relationship issues.

Treating Posttraumatic stress

For some, the symptoms can be completely while for some others, it could be reducing the symptoms or its intensity. It is dealt with in two ways, either counseling or medication or in some cases a combination of both.

Psychotherapy is a type of counseling or talk therapy, which is focused on the memory of the event and the trauma caused by it.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is one such method where you learn to understand how that event changed you and slowly trying to normalize it.

Prolonged Exposure (PE) is another option where you repeatedly talk about the event and the trauma until the memories become less or no longer upsetting that they affect you functioning.

Medication is also effective and is similar to anti-depressants.

 Support of friends and family in helping you cope with the trauma and gradually overcome it can prevent PTSD and even help in overcoming the stress if you develop the disorder.

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