According to research, in the current scenario, every 1 out of 13 people suffer from PTSD globally. Now the question arises, what exactly is PTSD? How it is harmful to us? Who suffers from it? And what are the ways to deal with it and come out as a new person and start fresh?
Well, I, Gordon Grigg, am a life coach in Nashville, Tennessee and will be telling you what exactly is PTSD. And also will be telling you about its symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and other necessary details that may guide you to deal with the post-traumatic disorder that may cause stress in your life.
What is PTSD?
PTSD or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric disorder or a mental health condition that may occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. These distressing events may include anything such as; a natural disaster, a terrorist act, a war, a serious accident, witnessing a murder, being a rape victim, or having been threatened with death calls or sexual violence.
In the past, this condition was recognized by war veterans and was diagnosed as ‘shell shock in the past. But currently, the world is no longer a safe place to live in. Incidents and accidents are quite common these days and can happen in anybody’s life. They can thus turn to trauma, which may leave a deep hard impact on your life that can shake you to the core.
How do you know if you have PTSD?
Majorly all of us have been through a frightening event or a traumatic experience once in our lifetime that might have left a deep emotional effect on us. It is not necessary that directly witnessing or experiencing the incident can cause PTSD, sometimes even only hearing about the same is enough to horrify you or shake you to the core.
As time passes, the shock and fear might vanish, but the anxiety, insomnia, and flashbacks of the same may act as the stem of the past trauma. This is thus an indication that the person has a type of mental health disorder that is being diagnosed as PTSD by the doctors.
To figure out whether you are suffering from PTSD or not, you should visit the doctor and let them talk to you about the traumatic incident and record your reactions. If your reactions fit the criteria of PTSD made by the American Psychiatric Association, then you should further consult the doctor for proper treatment or visit experienced life coaches like me.
What it is like to have PTSD?
If you are suffering from PTSD, then you might have extremely intense and disturbing feelings and thoughts about the experience or the traumatic event you went through. You might also relive the event through flashbacks and nightmares, and these might result in anger, sadness, fear, or the feeling of detachment and estrangement from the outside world might also come in your mind. As a life coach, I would thus, advise you to stay away from people and avoid such situations that can remind you of that traumatic event.
Many people who suffer from PTSD might have temporary difficulty in coping and adjusting to their surroundings. But with time, good self-care, and the right diagnosis from doctors and life coaches, many people around the globe are happily recovering from the same. Thus, I would also advise you to learn about the exact symptoms, treatment, and many other similar aspects that can prove to be of great help.
Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may start within one month of witnessing the traumatic incident or there may be no symptoms at all until years after the happening of the event. These symptoms may cause hindrances in attending social groups, work situations, and managing relationships. They can also prevent you from performing tasks related to your daily routine.
The symptoms of PTSD are generally grouped into four categories which further contain various behaviors and actions. But remember that the intensity of the symptoms may vary over time and from person to person. They are as follows:
● Intrusive memories – These may include; recurrent & unwanted distressing memories, flashbacks, upsetting dreams, and any physical reaction that can remind you of the traumatic event
● Avoidance – When you try to avoid talking and thinking about the traumatic incident and even meeting people or visiting places related to it
● Negative changes in thinking and mood – Many negative thoughts might come into your mind such as; hopelessness about the future, difficulty in maintaining relationships, feeling detached from family, memory problems, etc.
● Changes in physical and emotional reactions – These symptoms include you being easily frightened or startled, always being guarded about danger, self-destructive behavior, trouble sleeping, etc.
If these symptoms occur with you regularly and continue for over a month, and you feel that they are not letting you live and perform in your normal life, then you need to see a doctor or mental health professional. Also, if suicidal thoughts occur in your mind due to past traumatic experiences then immediately talk to your doctor or any immediate person from your family and friend circle that you trust, or share your problems with a life coach like me.
Causes of PTSD
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can occur by seeing or learning about any unexpected event that can involve injury, accident, actual or threatened death, sexual violence, etc.
But according to an experienced research team of doctors, PTSD can be caused due to the complex mix of:
● Stressful experiences
● Inherited medical health issues, such as; anxiety and depression
● Inherited personality and temperament
● The way the brain reacts and releases hormones & chemicals in response to stress
● Experienced trauma in earlier life like child abuse
● Having a job where you are exposed to repeated traumatic events
● Lacking a good support system from your near and dear ones
Treatment of PTSD
You should be well aware of the fact that every person who faces any sort of trauma in their life; does not experience PTSD. And not every patient with PTSD requires psychiatric treatment. Symptoms of PTSD may vanish in some people with time and with the support of their loved ones or life coaches. But some require professional medical treatment to recover from the psychological distress. Remember, PTSD is curable, the earlier the person gets the right treatment, the better the chances of recovery.
PTSD can be cured through medication and psychotherapies such as; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, and various other alternative and complementary therapies.
The medications for PTSD include:
● Antidepressant pills
● Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as; Citalopram (Celexa), Paroxetine (Paxil), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), and Fluoxetine (Prozac)
● Tricyclic Antidepressants such as; Isocarboxaid (Doxepin) and Amitriptyline (Elavil)
● Mood stabilizers such as; Lamotrigine (Lamictal) and Divalproex (Depakote)
● Atypical Antipsychotics such as; quetiapine (Seroquel) and aripiprazole (Abilify)
● Some other medications include; Prazosin for nightmares, Clonidine (Catapres) for sleep, and Propranolol (Inderal) for minimizing the formation of traumatic memories
What happens if PTSD remains untreated?
It is seen that if the psychological symptoms of PTSD are not treated on time, then they are likely to get worsen. People might suffer from severe anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, and problem managing anger & aggression.
If you suffer from PTSD, then you are likely to suffer from diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Epidemiological Studies have researched that patients with PTSD have an increased risk of autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. It has been also found that excessive stress taken by PTSD patients can lead to systematic inflation.
Several pieces of research have also shown that people having PTSD, have increased levels of blood inflation. This can thus affect cognitive function, working memory, attention, executive functions, verbal memory, and learning.
According to the latest technology of Neuroimaging, it has been found that people having PTSD have various functional and structural abnormalities in the different regions of the brain that are responsible for controlling cognitive functions.
Apart from the psychological and physiological effects of PTSD, it also affects the social life of one who is affected. Untreated PTSD can lead to; social isolation, inability to keep up the job well, difficulty in carrying out daily tasks, aggressive behaviors, financial instabilities, and staining relationships with loved ones.
If you are also suffering from PTSD, and want to share something about your traumatic experience then, dear friend, I, Gordon Grigg, a life coach in Nashville Tennessee, can help you in healing from that incident.
You can connect with me as I can guide you and help you in a way that your PTSD does not hamper your day-to-day activities. You can trust me as slowly and gradually I can help you relieve from post-traumatic stress disorder, and also tell you ways to leave the baggage of old memories behind and move forward towards living a happy life with your family and loved ones.