An Understanding of PTSD
By Jadey Chen
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is classified as an anxiety disorder that affects people who were exposed to a traumatic event
PTSD can last for up to years, people with it are haunted by memories about the event
Anyone can develop PTSD, it isn’t exclusive to certain age groups
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is a condition that people develop after facing or witnessing a terrifying event. More than three million people a year face it after going through something traumatic and continuing to get flashbacks and memories about it. Often, these memories arise after PTSD victims are reminded of the event through triggers like scent, sight, or thoughts that drag them back.
The causes of PTSD vary from person to person because it applies to anyone who went through a traumatic experience. Many people have a false conception of PTSD and assume that it normally only occurs to war veterans. While it’s true that veterans commonly have PTSD due to their hard services in war, PTSD is something that can occur to people of all ages and nationalities. The causes can be anything from war, sexual assault, bullying, car accidents, natural disasters, etc…A person doesn’t have to go through the event themselves to develop the disorder, even witnesses are able to get it after viewing a traumatic event and being unable to stop thinking about it.
Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder normally occur right after the event, but can reappear months or years after. Just like the cause, symptoms are different from each victim but there are still common factors within each one.
Memories and Flashbacks
Oftentimes, PTSD victims are brought back to the event through their mind and are hit with recurring memories about it. For some people, they relive the event after getting something called a trigger. A trigger is something that victims connect with the event and causes them to remember it again like a particular scent, watching a certain broadcast, and more. It depends on the type of situation they went through: for example, a gunshot victim can get brought back to the time they got shot after hearing a firework due to the resemblance in sound. They also often have nightmares about the event for a while after the traumatic event.
Changes in Emotion
People understandably get more paranoid and start to feel more negative about their life after going through a traumatic event. People start to become more detached from their loved ones and don’t feel pleasure doing activities that they used to love. Sometimes, people start to turn their back on the world because of how afraid they are of the event happening again. They start to assume that everything is dangerous and lose their trust in many people, even those who don’t appear to have any negative intentions. They get more aggressive and lash out more often.
PTSD victims start to avoid things that could bring back memories about the event, like if someone was in a tragic car accident, they stop driving because of how they can’t help but remember the event when driving. Some completely avoid even talking about the event to prevent the memory from arising.
The severity of PTSD depends on each person. Not every person with PTSD will require psychotherapy because it is possible for it to go away with time or with the support of family members. Other times, people are left very distressed and require some sort of treatment whether it is medication or psychotherapy to aid them to recovery.
Psychotherapy is a recommended remedy for PTSD victims because of how it has been proven to be effective. The most effective therapies for PTSD include cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. All of those are meant for a professional to help people communicate about the event and work to help people gain better control over their minds. It is also effective to allow victims to talk about what happened and instead of getting overwhelmed by negative emotions, they are able to change those emotions to become more positive.
Medication can also be used to help symptoms of PTSD but is often used along with therapy for more effective results. Most commonly used are SSRIs, SNRIs, which are normally used as antidepressants but still have benefits to people with PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an unfortunate condition that happens to those who are faced with memories and fears after a traumatic event, but is treatable. The scary thing is– it’s possible for anyone to develop this condition. Luckily, treatments are continuing to advance and there are solutions for it like therapy and certain medications. If you or anyone you know has symptoms like the ones listed above, make sure to visit a local hospital and seek treatment. Treatment is more effective when PTSD is detected earlier and stops the symptoms before they worsen. It’s important to remember that PTSD is not at the fault of the victim, and it’s crucial to help aid them through the process!