What is PTSD?
PTSD also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a long term disorder that can occur after a traumatic and stressful event that can then display negative symptoms for the rest of someones life.
Symptoms of PTSD
There are multiple different kinds of symptoms, as displayed above, Re-experiencing, Avoidance, Arousal and reactivity, and Cognition and mood. Different symptoms have been split up in the chart below:
- Flashbacks - reliving the traumatic event repeatedly
- Bad dreams
- Horrifying thoughts
- Staying away from places event or objects that are reminders of the traumatic event
- Avoiding thoughts and feelings related to the event
Cognition and Mood
- Unable to remember parts of the traumatic event
- Negative thoughts about yourself and the world
- Feelings such as guilt or blame are distorted
- Interest loss of fun activities
Arousal and Reactivity
- Easily startled
- Continuously on edge
- Difficulty sleeping
- Experiencing outbursts of anger
PTSD also effects a wide range of things long term, from the brain and memories malfunctioning to muscle aches to even strokes and so much more.
The National Institute of Medical Health (NIMH) describes that one of the most effective treatments are talk therapy where the patient discusses the traumatic events. Another popular and effective treatment is medications such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, or Effexor. However, before taking any treatment, always talk to a medical provider first.
Symptoms of PTSD usually begin early, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) "Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward" (NIH). In order for it to be considered PTSD, symptoms must occur for at least one month. However, PTSD can be only considered a medical disorder if it's interfering with relationships or work. According to the NIH for adults to be diagnosed they must fit this list: "
At least one re-experiencing symptom
At least one avoidance symptom
At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
At least two cognition and mood symptoms
According to the The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), their "findings suggested that the highest rates of PTSD prevalence among both men and women are found between the age of 18 and 24 years and the lowest among older people" (NCBI).
Causes for PTSD
According to the UK's National Health Service (NHS) there are plenty of reasons someone may develop PTSD, some being:
- Serious accidents
- Sexual abuse
- Child Abuse
- Pregnancy Loss
In addition to that the NCBI has done research that shows people of black race are about 8% more likely to develop long term PTSD.
P.K. Philips writing with Adaa.org shared his experience with PTSD and stated the his PTSD stemmed from "several traumas, including a childhood laced with physical, mental, and sexual abuse, as well as an attack at knifepoint that left me thinking I would die" (P.K. Philips - Adaa.org). He also said: "I would never be the same after that attack. For me there was no safe place in the world, not even my home. I went to the police and filed a report. Rape counselors came to see me while I was in the hospital, but I declined their help, convinced that I didn't need it. This would be the most damaging decision of my life." (P.K. Philips - Adaa.org). This kind of reaction also spiraled his PTSD out of control. You can read the rest of his story here.
Stigmas of PTSD
A stigma is like a stereotype, we think of these things found in media and apply it to all people challenged by mental illness. People can face stigmas from friends, family, and anyone else. Everydayhealth.com describes PTSD based stigmas as "dangerous, unpredictable, incompetent, or to blame for their illness" (Eveydayhealth.com). The other terrible thing about stigmas is that it makes people facing these illnesses over time start to picture themselves these ways, which can cause other damage.