Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health disorder that is mostly caused because of a past terrifying event that can get triggered at any point of time. It can happen with people either experiencing it or witnessing it. The common symptoms of PTSD include memories, flashbacks, nightmares and severe depression, and unwanted thoughts about the traumatic event. Taking timely and effective treatment after experiencing PTSD symptoms can be important to manage the signs and improve life quality. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Soumiya Mudgal, Consultant Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences, Psychiatrist, Max Hospital Gurugram, about the symptoms, causes and treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Generally, people who have gone through any traumatic events may face temporary difficulty in living and coping up. However, by giving it time and proper self-care, they start getting better. If these symptoms get worse, or last for a prolonged period and disrupt your daily life, you may be suffering from this disorder. PTSD symptoms are usually classified by four types, namely intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Read further to know more about this disorder.
Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD symptoms might develop after one month of the traumatic event, but in some cases they may not start until years after the event. Symptoms can vary over time and are even different in every individual. PTSD symptoms severity and intensity can change over time. You may get triggered or experience more symptoms when in a stressful situation, or when you come across memories of what you went through. According to Dr. Soumiya, here are the main signs of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD:
- Unwanted recurring flashbacks and memories
- Nightmares of the traumatic event
- Severe emotional stress
- Avoidance of situations and activities
- Negative thoughts about yourself and the world
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Concentration problems
You can have post traumatic stress disorder because of something you go through. It can also develop if you see or get to know about a traumatic event involving real or threatened death, severe injury or sexual violence. Medical experts are still not sure why some people get PTSD. Just like many other mental health conditions, PTSD is also a mix of these possible causes:
- Stressful experiences and past mental or physical trauma
- Family history of anxiety and depression
There are several other traumatic events that can lead to PTSD symptoms, which includes fire, natural disaster, robbery, plane crash, torture, kidnapping, life-threatening medical diagnosis, war, terrorist attack, and other extremely traumatic events. These situations can be difficult for the human body and brain to handle, thus causing PTSD.
Self diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder requires you to be at the event that involved the past actual or threatening death, sexual violation or serious trauma. Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD treatment can help you restore a sense of control on your life. The basic and preferred treatment method is psychotherapy, but can also be along with medication. The most common PTSD treatment methods include:
- Behavioral therapy
- Doctor prescribed medications for anxiety or depression
- Stress management
These were the symptoms, causes and treatment of post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD by Dr. Soumiya Mudgal. If you are having any negative or past thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a few weeks, and are severe, then you should talk to your doctor. A mental health professional can help in regaining the control over your life. Getting early treatment can help in preventing the worsening of PTSD symptoms.
Image credits: Freepik