Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a life
threatening, debilitating disorder that can break down a sufferer’s body
through anxiety and stress. Further it poses a significant suicide risk
resulting from the brains neurological imbalance and chemical depression.
People suffering from PTSD often live in denial.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is
the term for a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme
psychological trauma The latter may involve someone's actual death
or a threat to the patient's or someone else's life, serious physical
injury, or threat to physical and/or psychological integrity, to a
degree that usual psychological defenses are incapable of coping.
It is important to make a distinction between
PTSD and Traumatic stress, which is a similar condition, but of less
intensity and duration.
As indicated in DSM-IV, it is possible
for individuals to experience traumatic stress without developing
posttraumatic stress disorder. Indeed, most people who suffer psychological
trauma do not develop PTSD. For most, the emotional
effects of such events subside after several months.
PTSD is thought to be primarily an anxiety
disorder (possibly closely related to panic disorder and should not be
confused with normal grief and adjustment after traumatic events.
PTSD symptoms may include: nightmares,
flashbacks, emotional detachment or numbing of feelings (emotional
self-mortification or dissociation), insomnia, avoidance of reminders and
extreme distress when exposed to the reminders ("triggers"), loss of
appetite, irritability, hypervigilance, memory loss (may appear as difficulty paying attention),
excessive startle response, clinical depression, and anxiety.
A person suffering from PTSD may also exhibit
one or more comorbid psychiatric disorders. These may include clinical depression
(or bipolar disorder), general anxiety disorder, and a variety of
There are four types of symptoms:
re-living symptoms, avoidance symptoms, numbing symptoms, and feeling keyed
Reliving the event (also called
Bad memories of the traumatic event can come
back at any time. You may feel the same fear and horror you did when the
event took place. You may feel like you're going through the event again.
This is called a flashback. Sometimes there is a trigger: a sound or sight
that causes you to relive the event. Triggers might include:
- Hearing a car backfire, which can bring
back memories of gunfire and war for a combat veteran
- Seeing a car accident, which can remind a
crash survivor of his or her own accident
- Seeing a news report of a sexual assault,
which may bring back memories of assault for a woman who was raped.
Avoiding situations that remind you
of the event:
You may try to avoid situations or people
that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or
thinking about the event.
- A person who was in an earthquake may
avoid watching television shows or movies in which there are earthquakes
- A person who was robbed at gunpoint while
ordering at a hamburger drive-in may avoid fast-food restaurants
- Some people may keep very busy or avoid
seeking help. This keeps them from having to think or talk about the
You may find it hard to express your
feelings. This is another way to avoid memories.
- You may not have positive or loving
feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships
- You may not be interested in activities
you used to enjoy
- You may forget about parts of the
traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
Feeling keyed up (also called arousal
or hyper-arousal symptoms):
You always may be alert and on the lookout
for danger. This is known as increased emotional arousal. It can cause you
- Suddenly become angry or irritable
- Have a hard time sleeping
- Have trouble concentrating
- Fear for your safety and always feel on
- Be very startled when someone surprises