Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is PTSD?

 

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people may develop after experiencing or witnessing dangerous, shocking, scary or life-threatening events. These events can be natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, violent events, military combat, or sexual assaults (ADAA, n.d.).

 

It's normal to have troublesome memories, difficulty sleeping, or feel edgy/nervous after a traumatic event.  Initially, the ability to perform normal activities such as work, school, or spending time with family and friends may be very difficult. Generally, most people begin to feel like themselves and can perform their normal activities within a few months or weeks. However, if the symptoms last beyond a few months, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start awhile after the event, or they may come and go over time (APA, 2013).

 

 

Why do people get PTSD?

 

Anyone is susceptible to PTSD including children. Most people who experience a traumatic/dangerous event will not develop PTSD. There are multiple factors that contribute to whether a person develops PTSD.

 

Some risk factors that may increase a person’s chance of developing PTSD are:

  • Surviving trauma and dangerous

  • Being injured

  • Witnessing another person being injured, or seeing a dead body

  • Trauma in childhood

  • Feeling helplessness, horror, or extreme fear

  • Limited or no social support after the event

  • Having to deal with additional stress after the loss (pain & injury, death of a loved one, loss of job or home)

  • History of mental illness or substance use disorder (NIMH, n.d.).

 

What treatment options are available?

 

The first step to treatment and recovery is to seek help from a mental health care provider. Our providers are compassionate and utilize a holistic treatment approach.  There are different treatment options available to treat PTSD including medications, psychotherapy, and both. Everyone responds differently to treatment.After a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, our providers will individualize your treatment plan based on your personal situation.

 

References

 

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.

 

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (n.d.) Post-traumatic stress disorder. Retrieved from:

                https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd.

 

National Institute of Mental Health (n.d.). Post-traumatic stress disorder. Retrieved from:

                https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.

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