25 February 2010

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

If someone went through a traumatic experience and are having trouble getting back to his/her regular life and reconnecting to others, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you have PTSD, it can seem like you’ll never get over what happened or feel normal again. But help is available – and you are not alone. If you are willing to seek treatment, stick with it, and reach out to others for support, you will be able to overcome the symptoms of PTSD and move on with your life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder  (PTSD) is a disorder that can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiers – and military combat is the most common cause in men – but any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event is perceived as unpredictable and uncontrollable.

PTSD can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. It can even occur in the friends or family members of those who went through the actual trauma.

Traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:
  • War
  • Rape
  • Natural disasters
  • A car or plane crash
  • Kidnapping
  • Violent assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Medical procedures (especially in kids)

They always suffer from 'flashbacks' which are experiences in which they re-live the event in their mind over & over again. During sleep, they recur in nightmares which can cause acute emotional & physical distress as if it is really happening. Hence, they'll avoid things, activities or any images that will remind them of their distressing experience. They'd keep themselves busy. Very busy & fully occupied so that there's no chance to think or experience the flashbacks. They can become emotionally detached or numb & pessimistic about the future.

The fear of encoutering another harrowing experience makes them constantly vigilant & alert. As a result, they tend to be over-cautious & will overreact at the slightest hint of any mishaps, even the minor ones. This heightened & continuous state of alertness will eventually take its tolls. Consequently, symptoms such as anxiety, aches & pains, insomnia, anger & depression will emerge. Soon, some of them may resort to substance abuse such as alcohol & drigs just to try to block out the painful memory. Or they'd prefer to alleviate it by starting consuming variety of anti-depressive medications. But the physical therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could deal directly with the PTSD symptoms as it encourages them to talk about the painful event & help them to deal with their intrusive thoughts & feelings.

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