Understanding PTSD

Have you recently faced a dangerous event in your life that caused you to experience extreme shock or scare? In life we are not able to tell the experiences we will go through. As the days go by, we are exposed to varying issues that seek to challenge our mental fortitude. At times these challenges faced may jolt us into fear because of their traumatic effects. Unfortunately for some people this is the start of a mental illness termed as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The truth is, it is human to embrace feelings of fear after being placed in a life altering situation. We naturally are triggered to fear that gives us the ability to sense danger and try to avoid it. It’s referred to the flight or fight response.

However, there is a difference when some persons suffer from a traumatic event. For some they recover from the symptoms in a natural manner in a reasonable time while others have prolonged problems after the event – this is when the possibility of a post-traumatic disorder exists.

As you continue to read this post you will gain a greater insight as to what is PTSD, the symptoms and treatment options that exist.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a mental health disorder that develops as a result of one’s encounter with a scary event.

Persons who develop post traumatic disorder tend to feel excessively stressed and afraid even when there is no pressing danger.

Other than being exposed to a dangerous occurrence, some persons may develop PTSD after the death of someone dear.

The onset of symptoms may differ for each person. While it may start with at least three months of the mind-boggling incident, at times it can also begin years later.

Pinpointing Signs and Symptoms

Before diagnosing yourself with PTSD it must be clear that your symptoms are ongoing for more than a month. The symptoms should also be serious in nature that it interferes with your quality of life, including work and relationships.

Some common symptoms to look out for include:

  • The continuous reliving of the trauma (flash backs)

  • Thoughts that terrify you

  • Nightmares

  • Avoidance of feelings that remind you of the trauma

  • Avoiding places, people or even items that remind you of the trauma

  • Excessively tense

  • Inability to sleep

  • Anger

  • Cognitive issues

  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed

Important Note: Having these symptoms after the event is normal but when it continues for more than a month and it intensifies this is when seeking help from a mental health professional is recommended.  

Treatment

Many persons are able to totally recover from PTSD within six months of diagnosis. However, others may have a more prolonged experience before full healing is observed.

Seeking help and getting treated is beneficial as it helps the process to be guided with expertise minimizing the risk of partial healing.

The main treatment options are psychotherapy and medications. Talk therapy guided by a psychiatrist/psychotherapist or psychologist in treating PTSD is powerful and has changed the life of many individuals. Common strategies used in therapy for persons with PTSD are CBT often in the form of exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring.

PTSD is by no means the end of your life. However, by not seeking and accepting the help you need from a mental health professional can lead to some unnecessary pain and stress that can be avoided.

You deserve to lead a fulfilled life and one of purpose. Common Ground Psychiatry can help and it would be our absolute pleasure getting you back to feeling life yourself. Click the link and connect with us today! Let’s work together.