PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, affects millions of people. Most of us think of PTSD as being directly related to veterans who have served in war or have been through a traumatic experience while serving in the military. While most PTSD sufferers are veterans or actively serving military personnel, this affliction can affect others as well. Traumatic events and experiences can cause PTSD in just about anyone. Examples of this would include abuse, natural disasters, witnessing a tragedy, or being a victim of an accident, just to name a few.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is often a result of experiencing something traumatic. Once that traumatic event has occurred, people typically must learn how to deal with the event and eventually move on. Unfortunately, these feelings of fear and worry can arise and come back to haunt them later in life. Some common symptoms of PTSD include “reliving” the event, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, fear of being out in public, depression, and even physical pain. Because PTSD does not always receive a diagnosis right away, many mistake these symptoms for something else. Over time, post traumatic stress disorder can threaten relationships as well as employment. Some people will also become dependent on alcohol or drugs in order to cope with their PTSD. It is important that those suffering seek help as soon as possible and get the counseling they need to be able to get back to a normal life as soon as possible.
What are the Causes of PTSD?
Typically, PTSD is experienced by soldiers serving in the military who have witnessed some traumatic events such as being shot at, watching others die, and having to watch their friends suffer in battle. The loud noises of bombs and gunfire can be quite trying for those who have never dealt with such an event. Other causes can include living through an airplane or automobile crash or witnessing a large natural disaster like a hurricane or flooding. Other cases can be a result of having to deal with physical and mental abuse. All of these traumatic events have an impact on the human psyche, and some are more susceptible than others. For instance, if a person has a chemical imbalance already in the brain, a serious traumatic event can bring PTSD to the surface.
How Do You Prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Often when someone experiences a traumatic or serious event, they will react to it in a fearful way. This behavior is completely normal, particularly right after something like this has just occurred. Sufferers often experience feelings of guilt if they are survivors, or may have trouble sleeping or fear that something else bad is going to happen. Over time, if these feelings do not subside, there may be a serious underlying problem.
The key to prevention is to assess and diagnose the problem before it gets too serious. Seeking counseling and therapy are lifesavers, and the sooner the person finds help, the better the odds the person will not suffer from PTSD. Talking about the event with others and staying connected to fellow survivors can be a great preventative tool. In most cases of PTSD, those who deal with it failed to seek or get the help needed in a timely manner, which only makes the symptoms worse.
How to Manage PTSD?
For those who are coping with PTSD, there are some things that can keep it under control. Of course, through treatment and talking about the problem, many can go on with their daily lives. Support is the key to managing PTSD. This can come from group therapy or one-on-one treatment. Finding help and strength through others who are also suffering is an excellent tool to help people manage their PTSD. Sometimes, professionals expose people to movies or other things similar to their traumatic experience in order to be able to readjust and to understand the difference between fiction and reality. This is called exposure therapy. There are other methods of psychotherapy also used to treat PTSD and some medications including anti-anxiety drugs.
By Angela Lambert