Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic, shocking, dangerous event or a series of events. It is natural to feel scared and afraid after such a stressful event, but it becomes a disorder when it disables you and you continue to experience those feelings after a while. Traumatic events include natural disasters, fatal accidents, war/combat, rape/sexual assault, violence, and bullying, etc. 

Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event will develop PTSD. Approximately 6 % of people in the U.S. are affected by PTSD. A person who receives treatment for PTSD will recover and no longer meet the diagnostic criteria. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men whereas Veterans are more likely to have PTSD than civilians. 

PTSD usually causes a person to have very strong, intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings that erupt after experiencing a traumatic event and last months to years after the event has ended. They often experience flashbacks and nightmares; feelings of sadness, fear, and anger; and often isolate and detach from other people. People with PTSD often avoid going to places or visiting people that remind them of the trauma.

There is four categories of PTSD:

Intrusion: People with PTSD will have intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; nightmares, and flashbacks. 

Avoidance: They try to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event and this includes avoiding people and places, certain activities, and situations that may trigger their intrusive thoughts.

Alterations in cognition and mood: They often forget important details of the traumatic event. They are consumed by negative thoughts and feelings that lead to distorted beliefs about oneself or others; negative thoughts about how events unfolded lead to wrongful blaming of self or others. These persons no longer enjoy activities they previously enjoyed. People with PTSD are incapable of having positive emotions.

Alterations in arousal and reactivity: They are often irritable and have angry outbursts, behave recklessly or engage in self-destructive behavior, and are delusional. It is common for them to have trouble sleeping and difficulty concentrating.

PTSD is highly associated with other mental disorders; the most common being adjustment, anxiety, and depression. It is also associated with high levels of social, occupational, and physical disability.  

To be diagnosed with PTSD, one must experience all of the above for a duration of more than 1 month; where symptoms usually develop within the first 3 months after the traumatic event. The clinical presentation varies. It is advised to seek professional help and get properly evaluated. 

Contact Me