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Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms & Triggers

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Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms & Triggers

Neuro Sciences | by Dr. Kallol Kr. Dey | Published on 16/11/2023



Introduction

There are times in the shades of human experience when extreme hardship hits, leaving a lasting impression on the mind and spirit of the person. These experiences can disturb the fragile balance of a person’s mental health resulting in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a rare mental health condition affecting millions of people across the world. The condition is not specific to gender, age, or background, but a traumatic experience that triggered PTSD. 

Whether it's enduring a struggle, surviving a natural disaster, suffering from domestic abuse, or dealing with the effects of a disastrous accident, PTSD can take varied forms and impact people differently.

So, if you often experience anxiety, nightmares, or flashbacks, book your appointment with the healthcare experts of The Calcutta Medical Research Institute in Kolkata for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

In this write-up, we will probe post-traumatic stress disorder complexities symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options. Please note that it is for informative purposes only and we recommend seeking medical help for the condition to receive suitable and effective treatment.

Overview of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition affecting people who have gone through or experienced a distressing or serious occurrence. These experiences involve events like incidents, physical or sexual assault, natural events, exposure to combats, or any other form of suffering. According to research, PTSD targets around 7-8% of the population, and women are more vulnerable than men. With time, the patient tends to feel more apprehensive and fearful, rather than feeling better. PTSD can interrupt the quality of life of a patient for years but with proper treatment, a path to recovery is smooth.

What are PTSD symptoms?

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms often differ from person to person, however; some common symptoms that one should observe are:

  • Invasive and upsetting reminiscences of the disturbing incidents 
  • Nightmares linked to trauma 
  • Agitating and realistic reactions to the traumatic occurrence
  • Keeping thoughts, feelings, or conversations linked to the event 
  • Staying away from activities and places that can trigger trauma 
  • Not feeling connected or feeling emotionally numb always 
  • Struggling to sleep and suffering from severe insomnia 
  • Stressing over concentrations and easily feeling shocked 
  • Regular negative thoughts and feelings 
  • A feeling of blame, shame, or guilt linked to the traumatic incident 
  • Memory issues and struggling to recall particular details of the occurrence

What are PTSD causes?

The causes of post-traumatic stress disorder involve primarily experiencing a traumatic incident or series of distressing occurrences. Here are some of the main causes of PTSD: 

  • Battling experiences in the military force 
  • Assault that is sexual or physical 
  • Childhood molestation or mistreatment 
  • Environmental disasters such as earthquakes or cyclones 
  • Severe injuries in an accident 
  • Mass violence caused by terrorists 
  • Unanticipated and sudden passing away of a loved one 
  • Experiencing violence or life-threatening occurrence 

What are the risk factors of PTSD?

Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event experiences this condition, but various risk factors are there that put an individual at risk of developing PTSD. Here is the list of these factors:

  • Family history of mental health conditions 
  • Lacking a strong support system
  • Encountering added stressors or stroke after the event 
  • Excessive stress levels or no coping mechanisms 
  • Previous trauma history 

How is PTSD diagnosed?

The diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is initiated by mental healthcare experts like psychologists, and psychiatrists through a comprehensive assessment. This assessment involves questioning the patient, clinical evaluation, and following the particular criteria to confirm the diagnosis. Here is the diagnosis of PTSD:

  • Clinical evaluation: In this step, a mental healthcare expert will thoroughly assess the patient’s emotional and mental position. It involves understanding the patient’s symptoms, history, and traumatic events they have experienced.
  • Diagnostic procedure: The doctor will follow the specific diagnostic criteria set to confirm the PTSD condition. It comprises understanding the patient’s exposure to a traumatic event, re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, negative changes in mood and cognition, arousal symptoms, reactive signs, and duration of the symptoms. It assists the doctor in confirming the diagnosis and offering the right treatment solutions to the patient.

What are the options for Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment?

Doctors usually entail a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and support from close ones. Here are treatment options commonly involved in treating PTSD:

  • Psychotherapy: This treatment option involves cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. 
  • Medications: Doctors prescribe medications that can help in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Common medications are antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
  • Group therapy: In this treatment, people can share their experiences in an environment that is filled with support and empathy. It assists in reducing the feelings like isolation and offers a sense of community. 
  • Family therapy: According to healthcare professionals, involving family members in therapy benefits in enhancing communication and gives the feeling of support to the patient.
  • Mind-body techniques: This treatment involves including practices like deep-breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. It offers peace and helps manage stress including overall well-being. 
  • Support groups: Doctors also recommend joining a support group that can offer support for understanding similar experiences, encouragement, and validation. 
  • Self-help methods: Healthy coping mechanisms should be involved such as following a balanced lifestyle, involvement in activities that bring happiness, and a sense of calmness for people with PTSD.

Conclusion

Concluding this write-up, we believe that it is clear that post-traumatic stress disorder is an intricate and complicated mental health disorder that can deeply influence people who have gone through trauma. It is important to understand that PTSD doesn’t indicate weakness and seeking assistance on time is a brave and vital step towards recovery. One must realize the significance of professional therapy, self-care, and social support. In addition, generating awareness and diminishing disgrace surrounding mental is essential to nurturing a society that is full of compassion and empathy. Remember that seeking medical and professional help is a sign of strength and with the right support people struggling with PTSD can overcome the challenges and regain their lives.

FAQs

 

Can post-traumatic stress disorder be cured?

Yes. post-traumatic disorder can be cured with therapy or medication. Treatment options recommended by a healthcare professional are effective and it is important to stay in touch with the mental health expert to move forward. 

How to deal with PTSD?

Here are the steps you can follow to deal with PTSD: 

  • Following the treatment plan as recommended by the doctor 
  • Understanding about PTSD 
  • Taking care of yourself 
  • Don’t try self-medication 
  • Breaking the cycle 
  • Consider a support group 

Can PTSD be caused by emotional trauma?

Yes, PTSD can be caused by emotional trauma such as emotional abuse.