Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that develops after an individual experiences a traumatic or life-threatening incident. Approximately 7.7 million people in the United States battle with PTSD.
The traumatic incidents may range from events such as meeting with an accident, experiencing natural disaster, demise of loved ones, enduring a prolonged illness etc. Feeling sad, anxious or helpless after facing adverse life situations is quite natural for the mind and body. Our body has its natural mechanism to heal and return back to normalcy or heal on its own.
However, in case of PTSD, an individual gets stuck in a loop of flashbacks of the traumatic incident. People with PTSD feel an elevated sense of danger. Their natural fight-or-flight response is transformed, causing them to feel stressed or fearful, even without any real threat.
The symptoms of PTSD create impediments in everyday activities and impair daily functioning. Any particular word, situation, place, people or sound brings memories of the traumatic experience.
The symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories:
- Cognition and mood
- Reduced interest in activities you once loved
- Negative thoughts about self, such as distorted feelings of worry, guilt, or blame
- Difficulty in remembering important parts of the incidence
- Flashbacks and nightmare of the incident
- Unpleasant and vivid memories of the event
- Intense physical and emotional distress
Avoiding people, place, circumstances that reminds of the unpleasant incident.
- Arousal and reactivity
- Uncontrollable anger
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling startled
- Overwhelming emotions
Several studies suggest that since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant surge in PTSD as many have experienced death of their loved ones and unprecedented situations such as grief in the family and acute financial crisis.
There are 5 types of PTSD which includes
- Normal stress response
Normal stress response forms the basis of PTSD. However, it might not develop into PTSD. Any traumatic event involves lot of stress and anxiety, but an individual gradually recovers within two to three weeks. Normal stress response involves intense reaction or panic attack but it can be managed by therapy sessions, peer and group support.
- Acute stress disorder
People exposed to life-threatening events are at a greater risk of developing acute stress disorder. The incidents can include death of loved ones, loss of job, experiencing natural disaster, violence or terrorist act. All such incidents can trigger acute stress disorder in people. If acute stress disorder is left untreated it can develop into PTSD. It can be treated by medication, counseling and group therapy.
- Uncomplicated PTSD
This condition manifests when an individual experiences at least one traumatic incident in life. This is a least complicated type of PTSD, since the event responsible for the condition is known. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares and irritability, which affect personal relationships. Medication and therapy works well for uncomplicated PTSD.
- Complex PTSD
Contrary to uncomplicated PTSD, complex PTSD develops after experiencing multiple traumatic events such as exposure to war or community violence, multiple deaths of loved ones in a very short interval of time. It can also afflict people who have experienced sexual abuse or domestic violence for a prolonged period of time. Treating complex PTSD is quite challenging and requires professional intervention. Individuals enduring complex PTSD can be diagnosed with dissociative disorders and borderline or antisocial personality disorder. Intense rage, depression, avoidance, and impulsive behavior are common symptoms for complex PTSD. It can be treated by customized treatment programs which can include combination of medication and psychotherapies.
- Comorbid PTSD
Comorbid PTSD is a blanket term used to define co-occurring disorder. Many studies suggest that usually mental health issues trigger substance abuse and vice versa. More often, people with PTSD, depression or anxiety disorder suffer from the pain of their overwhelming emotions and emptiness within themselves. Therefore they are prone to misuse any substance in trying to numb their emotions. But eventually, the habit becomes much more concrete, giving rise to alcohol abuse disorder or any substance abuse disorder. People battling with comorbid PTSD should consider treating their co-occurring illness at the same time for complete recovery. In contrast, if only one condition is treated and the other is left untreated it would worsen symptoms.
People battling with PTSD should not try to self-medicate without the supervision of an expert. This is a dangerous practice as they will land themselves in great trouble. It will lead to dependency on medications and other illicit substance.
If you or a loved one is plagued by a traumatic incident from your past and is taking a toll on your life or your emotional well-being, seek help. We are here to help. Medical Concierge can help you with a mental health treatment center that will address your every concern. We have collaboration with centers that provide the best PTSD treatment programs. Our post traumatic stress disorder treatment centers can provide you with treatment programs based on your medical assessment and continuum care for your complete recovery. To know more contact us today on our 24/7 helpline number 877-636-0042 and get immediate assistance.