POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a severe mental health disorder triggered by a traumatic event or ongoing trauma – either through personal experience or being a witness to trauma. Common symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder include intrusive thoughts of the trauma, nightmares, depression, mild-to-severe anxiety, and uncontrollable flashbacks about a traumatic event. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may begin within 30 days of any traumatic situation.
Many people who go through bad events may experience distress and problems coping initially, but they often improve with time and therapy. If the symptoms become worse, or last for an extended period, and start interfering with daily activities, one may develop PTSD. Finding effective treatment after the onset of PTSD symptoms may significantly reduce symptoms and improve the condition.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD can lead to significant issues in societal or professional areas and relationships. These can also hinder one’s ability to carry out their routine activities in daily life.
PTSD signs and symptoms are usually categorized into four types:
The symptoms of intrusive thoughts can include:
- Recurrent, unwanted, and distressing memories of trauma.
- Reliving traumatic events through memories.
- Recurring nightmares about the trauma.
- Causing physical or emotional distress when confronted with something that reminds one of the traumatic events.
The symptoms of avoidance can include:
- Avoiding thoughts about or discussions about a traumatic event.
- Avoiding places, activities, or people that may remind one of the traumatic events.
Negative changes in thinking and mood
The symptoms of adverse changes in thinking and mood can include:
- Negative thoughts about oneself or other people.
- Lack of hope for the future.
- Memory problems, including forgetting essential details about the trauma.
- Trouble maintaining close relationships.
- Feelings of detachment from family and friends.
- Lack of interest in activities one used to enjoy.
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
- Feelings of being emotionally numb.
Extreme changes in physical and emotional reactions
The symptoms of extreme differences in physical and emotional responses:
- Getting startled easily.
- Always keeping an eye out for trouble.
- Self-destructive behavior, including intoxication and reckless behaviors.
- Lacking the ability to focus.
- Problem falling asleep.
- Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior.
- Overwhelming guilt or shame.
Symptoms can also differ over long periods and vary from person to person.
WHEN TO CONSULT A MENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST?
One should consult a mental health specialist if they have any of the following:
- Suffer from disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month.
- Have trouble managing the symptoms.
- Have impairment in life activities as a result of symptoms.
- Have suicidal thoughts.
HOW CAN PTSD BE PREVENTED?
After surviving a traumatic event, many people experience PTSD-like symptoms at first, such as being unable to stop thinking about what happened. Trauma survivors often experience fear, anxiety, anger, depression, and guilt. Most people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder, but having access to mental health treatment and support is crucial to prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse and interfering with daily life.
Well Coast Medical providers are experts in assessing and treating PTSD. If you or a loved one are experiencing PTSD symptoms or suffering as a result of trauma, please contact us at (833) 931-1716 to find out how we can help!