What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that occurs following a traumatic event and experience. A traumatic experience is characterized as a shocking, scary, or dangerous event that often causes emotional, spiritual, and psychological harm.
The onset of PTSD and its corollary symptoms affect each individual differently and the onset of PTSD often ranges from anywhere between 3 months to years following the traumatic event. PTSD can occur to anyone irrespective of age and is especially common among war veterans, children, survivors of sexual assaults, abuse, physical harm, and those who have experienced natural disasters or accidents.
How Can Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Impact Your Life?
People experiencing PTSD may have overwhelming, jarring thoughts and emotions specific to their triggering event that can last for years following their traumatic experience. These flashbacks can appear as recurring nightmares, and pervasive feelings of sadness, anger, and anxiety.
PTSD can also challenge one’s relationships, making it especially difficult to connect. Those struggling with PTSD often resort to avoiding behaviors, whereby one might avoid reminders of their trauma such as people, situations, or places. At the same time, those experiencing PTSD are prone to heightened sensory experiences whereby particular noises and sights can recall traumatic events.
What Are The Symptoms Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
For PTSD to be diagnosed, a person must experience the following symptoms for more than a month. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with relationships, work, and everyday duties.
Intrusive thoughts: These thoughts are characterized as recurring, reflexive memories that cause dysregulation by invoking traumatic events such as flashbacks. They can feel exceptionally vivid and realistic and often assume the form of nightmares.
Avoidance: Those experiencing PTSD will typically try to avoid interactions that recall their trauma. A hallmark trait of PTSD is an effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger traumatic memories.
Negative Thoughts: PTSD makes people prone to a distorted sense of self and overly negative beliefs. Feelings such as detachment, shame, anger, and fear can make it challenging to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones and detachment from daily life.
Arousal and reactivity: A person experiencing PTSD may act recklessly or behave in a self-destructive way. They are prone to irritability, angry outbursts, and issues sleeping and concentrating.
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