Post Traumatic Disorder Disorder, abbreviated PTSD, is far more common than most people realize; There are more than 3 million cases per year in the US alone.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that follows the experience or witnessing of a major traumatic event. These events most commonly include:
- Combat experience
- Sexual assault
- Physical assault
- Child abuse
- An accident
- Armed assault or threat of armed assault
- The unexpected loss of a loved one
- Natural disaster
Scientists are not completely sure why some people experience PTSD and others do not. This is likely due to a complex mix of variables including genetics, past experiences, and personality differences.
It most commonly involves reliving the event through flashbacks and nightmares, avoidant behavior, and intense anxiety.
After any stressful experience, some degree of anxiety is natural. If your anxiety persists or worsens over the course of months or years, you may be experiencing the disorder.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Any of the symptoms of general anxiety
- Recurring memories of the event
- Negativity, loss of enjoyment and emotions
- Distancing from friends and family
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Difficulty sleeping
- Easily frightened or triggered into an anxious state
- Continually thinking back to the event
- Avoiding anything related to the event
If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, it is strongly advised that you see a professional as soon as possible. You should also immediately seek professional help if you feel that you may be suffering from depression or are having suicidal thoughts.
Some of the most common treatments include Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and Stress Inoculation Training.
In some cases, your psychiatrist may feel that medication is necessary to help with treatment.
Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, yoga, and meditation should also be considered to help keep the brain healthy.
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