Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often referred to as PTSD, is a condition that occurs after witnessing a traumatic or terrifying event or being directly subjected to a traumatic experience. Patients who have experienced numerous traumatizing events sometimes develop C-PTSD, or complex PTSD, resulting in long-term symptoms.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is caused by a range of experiences from motor vehicle accidents or combat exposure to sexual or domestic violence, and may take months or even years to treat successfully. However, PTSD is treatable by a mental health professional, and therapies are additionally aided by family and community support of the sufferer. The symptoms of PTSD are variable and unpredictable, and subsequently it is of vital importance that those close to the sufferer are aware of them in order to provide appropriate support to the individual diagnosed with PTSD.
Here are five symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Flashbacks are one of the most common symptoms of acute PTSD, and are most frequent during the outset of the disorder. Flashbacks occur when the sufferer is triggered into reliving the traumatic event, or parts of it, either internally or even via hallucinations. Flashbacks diminish with time and distance from the event, particularly with treatment by a mental health professional.
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Avoidance is another common symptom of PTSD and can last for many months or years past the event in question. The individual may avoid certain places, situations, or certain kinds of people that remind them of the traumatic event, and in severe cases can even cause them to avoid people, places, and things that once brought them joy, pleasure, or stability.
PTSD sufferers may have trouble sleeping, particularly if their flashbacks take the form of nightmares. In addition to cognitive and behavioral therapies, a psychiatrist or physician may prescribe sleep aids to assist the sufferer in being able to get restful sleep until the acute symptoms of the condition pass.
One of the more severe symptoms of PTSD, sufferers who experience suicidal thought should immediately reach out for a source of emergency support, such as a friends or relatives, a minister or pastoral counselor, or contact a suicide hotline. PTSD sufferers who are not receiving treatment for their disorder should also immediately schedule an intake appointment with a therapist, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist to constructively address their symptoms.
PTSD may occasionally result in self-destructive behavior, such as risk-taking or thrill-seeking, excessive drinking, gambling or drug consumption, and other dangerous or risky behaviors. Sufferers with these symptoms need support from their families and communities as opposed to judgment, and should be encouraged to seek treatment and talk about their experiences with their loved ones and mental health professionals.
PTSD is a difficult condition to live with, and impacts the individual's life in many ways from their work to their personal relationships. However, with treatment and support, PTSD can be conquered – and in time can become a thing of the past.