Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be the most misunderstood form of mental illness.
Many people associate it with combat veterans who come back from a war.
After witnessing and experiencing horrible things, they are prone to flashbacks and have difficulty living healthy life.
That is one group that sometimes experiences PTSD, but there are others. The truth is, anyone can suffer from it.
What It Is
PTSD occurs when a person has experienced one or more tragic events in their life.
These events often include those experienced in war or by police officers or other first responders. However other events can trigger PTSD.
Being involved in an accident or fire, losing a loved one unexpectedly or being abused as a child are all common events that can cause this disorder.
People who suffer from PTSD generally require extensive therapy, either face to face or on an online therapy platform such as Rey Health.
PTSD sufferers may find that they avoid situations and places that remind them of the traumatic event. They may be triggered by loud noises or bright lights.
Hearing other people argue may also be upsetting. A common symptom is reliving the event through intense memories or even flashbacks.
The sufferer may be hypervigilant and sensitive to anything the is reminiscent of the original event.
What Causes PTSD
Every human being is embedded with the fight-or-flight response. When confronted with perceived danger, adrenaline and hormones flood the body.
Some people defend themselves by attacking the threat while others will retreat. This is a powerful evolutionary response.
The average person recovers from this response within 12-30 hours. Then everything goes back to normal. The bodies of people with PTSD are constantly on high alert.
The hormones frequently flow setting off the fight-or-flight response even when there is no real danger.
This is what causes avoidance or belligerence and makes living and interacting with others difficult.
Long-term therapy can help the individual to manage PTSD. Behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies have proven effective.
These work by attempting to alter the thought patterns of the patient. Behaviour is also modified to reduce the risk of the negative feelings associated with triggering PTSD.
The United States Department of Defense considers cognitive-behavioral therapy to be the standard of care for veterans with PTSD.
Although PTSD patients respond best to therapy, there are some medications that may be helpful. In some cases, antidepressants have been found to aid in treating PTSD symptoms.
These include serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
Sertraline, paroxetine, venlafaxine, and fluoxetine have also shown small improvements in the behavior of some patients.
Sports, exercise, and other physical activities have also been found to aid in the treatment of PTSD.
Being active can distract the person from negative thoughts, boost self-esteem and give them a feeling of control.
Play therapy is used in the same way with children.
PTSD can affect many different kinds of people of all ages. It is a serious and debilitating disorder. If you or someone you love is suffering from PTSD, help is available.