Post Traumatic StressCredit: Jesse Therrien


What is PTSD?

PTSD can develop following any traumatic event that causes a feeling of helplessness or an over-whelming, and sometimes unrealistic, fear of dangers lurking.

If someone goes through a traumatic event and is left with an overpowering sense of being unsafe, insecure, and helpless that person may be suffering from PTSD.  Some symptoms include a sense emotional shock, fear, and a sense of being disconnected from others. Additional symptoms can include sleep problems, nightmares, flashbacks and disturbing memories of the trauma. Some suffers of the disorder experience depression, jittery feelings, sudden outbursts of anger, and the tendency to be easily startled.  Also symptomatic of PTSD are such physical manifestations as rapid heartbeat, quickened breathing, abnormal sweating, severe muscle tension, and nausea. Some individuals with PTSD even have suicidal thoughts.

Fortunately, for most sufferers, the feelings don't last long. Such feelings should gradually lessen in severity and eventually go away completely.  However, for some suffers, the symptoms don't lessen in severity or go away. Some PTSD sufferers may actually begin to feel much worse with time.

What Causes the Disorder?

Some post-traumatic stress disorder is experienced by soldiers returning from battle. The United States Department of National Veterans Affairs reports that military combat is the most common cause of PTSD in men. However, any extremely traumatic event can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in any person from any walk of life. Common causes include natural disasters, war, as well as personal physical assault, domestic abuse, or rape.

How is the Disorder Treated?

Those diagnosed with PTSD should get professional treatment as soon as possible. Professional treatment can better help PTSD suffers cope with the traumatic event, rather than avoiding it. Treatment strategies encourage sufferers to recall their traumatic event in order to try to face up to the sensations felt during the original trauma. Such strategies can help to restore a better sense of control over their lives and emotions.

One type of treatment is a trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. Such a therapy identifies irrational thoughts about the traumatic event and replaces them with a healthier and more positive view. Another type of treatment is family therapy which helps family members better understand the disorder and provides for better communication. Medication is another treatment option. Some medication used can include Prozac or Zoloft or other anti-depressants that help to control depression and anxiety.

PTSD suffers can also pursue self-help strategies such as volunteering and serving to help others. Reaching out to supportive friends and family and staying connected with them is very helpful, as well. In addition, it is recommended that PTSD sufferers try to avoid any kind of alcohol or substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Abuse of alcohol or drugs can worsen symptoms..