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Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  By Melten Safarli

Introduction:

From time to time, we see something that affects us and we can’t forget it. Sadly, PTSD is far worse than that. If you see the symptoms in yourself or in the people that you know, it’s very important to seek professional help or simply gain more knowledge about PTSD. Now, let’s start with the question “What’s PTSD?”

  

What is PTSD?

[1 ] Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition which is triggered by a terrifying event by either experiencing or witnessing. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. [2] The traumatic event may be life-threatening, such as combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. But sometimes the event is not necessarily a dangerous one. For example, the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.

What causes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Of course, the situations we find traumatic can change from person to person. [3] Those situation can be:

  1. Being raped or sexually assaulted

  2. Being involved in a car crash

  3. Experiencing violence/any violent assault

  4. Being the survivor of a natural disaster (including earthquakes, pandemics (coronavirus for example))

  5. Losing someone to you in particularly depressing circumstances

  6. Being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition

  7. Seeing other people hurt or killed (wars for example)

  8. Being kidnapped, held hostage or any event in which you fear for your life

  9. Doing a job where you repeatedly see or hear distressing things, such as working in the emergency services or armed forces

  10. Having had trauma in childhood

Symptoms of PTSD

Well, it is important to know that each person's experience of PTSD is special to them. You might have experienced a similar type of trauma to someone else, yet be affected in different ways.[4] These are the common symptoms:

Relieving aspects of the things that happened - It can include nightmares, physical sensations (such as pain, nausea, sweating) and so on

Alertness- This can include being upset or angry very easily, disturbed or lack of sleep, aggressive behavior, panicking when remembering the trauma, being jumpy etc.

Avoiding feelings/memories - It mainly includes avoiding anything that reminds a particular person about the trauma, numb feeling, being unable to remember the details of the event, lack of the ability of expressing affection, using alcohol/drugs to avoid memories. 

[5]  Negative changes in thinking and mood - These symptoms may include negative thoughts about self identity, other people and world, hopelessness, lack of interest in activities, being unable to express positive emotions and so on.

Who is at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

[6] Anyone can develop PTSD, however, there are some risk factors that we should not neglect. One of the most common risk factors is long periods of stress, as seen in first responders like police and paramedics. Military service members also go through long periods of stress more specifically the ones who see combat situations. Childhood trauma, such as abuse, also increases your risk of developing PTSD. Mental health issues, substance use disorders, lacking support system and having a family member with the disorder can be other risk factors. 

PTSD statistics and facts for 2022

  • [7] The leading cause of PTSD is sexual violence at 33%, with 94% of rape victims developing symptoms of PTSD during the first two weeks after their traumatic experience.

  • Women have a lifetime PTSD prevalence rate of 9.7%, compared to 3.6% in men. 

  • About 17.2 veterans die by suicide each day, with veterans being 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than civilians 3 in 10 or 30% of the first responders have PTSD.

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[8] Practicing mindfulness meditation or yoga can be a great self-care for dealing with PTSD. Research has shown us that a routine practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga can help to significantly lessen symptoms of anxiety, depression, and restlessness related to PTSD.

 

One of the most important methods for learning how to cope with PTSD symptoms is to seek help from a mental health professional.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular talk therapy technique that teaches you how to recognize, then change, the negative thought patterns that are causing you distress and emotional harm as a result of your PTSD.

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) 

DBT is a type of CBT where the focus is on attempting to first identify, then change negative thought patterns so you can work toward healthier behavioral changes in your life.

 

If you have suicidal thoughts, If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, get help right away through one or more of these resources:. Reach out to a close friend or loved one. Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.