Saturday, January 24, 2009

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Following a traumatic event, almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD. It’s very common to have bad dreams, feel fearful or numb, and find it difficult to stop thinking about what happened. But for most people, these symptoms are short-lived. They may last for several days or even weeks, but they gradually lift.
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, the symptoms don’t decrease. You don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may start to feel worse. But PTSD doesn’t always develop in the hours or days following a traumatic event, although this is most common. For some people, the symptoms of PTSD take weeks, months, or even years to develop.
The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms appear seemingly out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell. While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms, as listed below.
Re-experiencing the traumatic event
Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
PTSD symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing
Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
Loss of interest in activities and life in general
Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)
PTSD symptoms of increased arousal
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Irritability or outbursts of anger
Difficulty concentrating
Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
Feeling jumpy and easily startled
Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
Anger and irritability
Guilt, shame, or self-blame
Substance abuse
Depression and hopelessness
Suicidal thoughts and feelings
Feeling alienated and alone
Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
Headaches, stomach problems, chest pain
Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is confronted, the easier it is to overcome. If you’re reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.
It’s only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will only get worse. You can’t escape your emotions completely – they emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guard – and trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.
Why Should I Seek Help for PTSD?
Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.
PTSD can be related to other health problems. PTSD symptoms can worsen physical health problems. For example, a few studies have shown a relationship between PTSD and heart trouble. By getting help for your PTSD you could also improve your physical health.
Source: National Center for PTSD

2 comments:

Michele Rosenthal said...

Thank you for helping spread the word about PTSD symptoms! And also, for highlighting the fact that PTSD gets worse over time and so it needs to be addressed right away.

I struggled with undiagnosed chronic/extreme PTSD for over 25 years, so I know first-hand it was much, much more intense in year 25 than it was in year 1!

The good news is: PTSD is curable. I am now into my second year of being PTSD-free and lovin' it.

It IS possible to bridge the gap between PTSD and a joyful life!

Alex said...

Thanks for the detailed information about post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD). The post gives detailed description about the reasons of stress which helps for stress management.