"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), formerly called “shell shock or combat fatigue syndrome,” is a serious condition that may develop after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic or horrific event that leads to serious physical harm or threat. PTSD is an enduring consequence of traumatic experiences that cause intense fear, helplessness, or terror. Examples of things that may trigger PTSD include sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or a natural disaster. Families of victims can develop PTSD, as can emergency responders and EMS employees.

Most individuals who have experienced a traumatic event exhibit reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common and disappear over time for most individuals. However, in an individual with post-traumatic stress disorder, these feelings persist and even intensify, becoming so strong that they prevent the person from moving on with their life as expected. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have symptoms for greater than a month and are unable to operate in addition to they did before the event that triggered them.

Symptoms of PTSD normally begin inside 3 months of the event. However, in some cases they only begin years later. The severity and duration of the disease can vary. Some people get better inside 6 months, while others are affected for for much longer.

Symptoms of PTSD are sometimes grouped into 4 principal categories, including:

  • Relive: People with PTSD relive the ordeal over and yet again through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These can include flashbacks, hallucinations and nightmares. They can also feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, comparable to the anniversary of the event.
  • Avoid: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations which may remind them of the trauma. This can result in feelings of distancing and isolation from family and friends, in addition to a lack of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
  • Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems referring to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; Irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “terrible” or easily frightened. The person can also experience physical symptoms comparable to increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid respiration, muscle tension, nausea and diarrhea.
  • Negative insights and sentiment: This refers to thoughts and feelings related accountable, alienation and memories of the traumatic event.

Young children with PTSD may experience developmental delays in areas comparable to toilet training, motor skills, and language.

The intensity of PTSD symptoms can vary. You may experience more symptoms in case you feel general stress or in case you encounter a particular memory of what happened.

Every person reacts otherwise to traumatic events. Each person is exclusive of their ability to address fear, stress, and the specter of a traumatic event or situation. For this reason, not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD. The sort of help and support an individual receives from friends, members of the family, and professionals following the trauma also can impact the event of PTSD or the severity of symptoms.

PTSD was first delivered to the eye of the medical community by war veterans; hence the names “Shell Shock” and “Battle Fatigue Syndrome”. However, anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can develop PTSD. People who were abused as children or repeatedly exposed to life-threatening situations are vulnerable to developing PTSD. Victims of trauma related to physical and sexual assault are at biggest risk for PTSD.

You could also be more prone to develop PTSD after a traumatic event if you might have had other mental health problems previously, have blood relatives with mental health problems, or have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

How common is PTSD?

Approximately 3.6% of American adults – roughly 5.2 million people – experience post-traumatic stress disorder in the course of the course of a 12 months, and an estimated 7.8 million Americans will develop post-traumatic stress disorder in some unspecified time in the future of their lives. PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood. Women usually tend to develop PTSD than men. This may very well be because women usually tend to be victims of domestic violence, abuse and rape.

PTSD isn’t diagnosed until not less than a month has passed for the reason that traumatic event. If symptoms of PTSD are present, the doctor will begin the assessment by conducting a whole medical history and physical examination. Although there are not any laboratory tests to specifically diagnose PTSD, the doctor may use various tests to rule out a physical illness because the explanation for the symptoms.

If no physical illness is diagnosed, chances are you’ll be referred to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health skilled specifically trained to diagnose and treat mental illness. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to screen an individual for the presence of PTSD or other psychiatric illnesses. The doctor bases his or her diagnosis of PTSD on the symptoms reported, including any dysfunction attributable to the symptoms. The doctor then determines whether the symptoms and level of dysfunction indicate PTSD. PTSD is diagnosed when the person has symptoms of PTSD that last more than a month.

The goal of PTSD treatment is to cut back emotional and physical symptoms, improve each day functioning, and help the person higher address the event that triggered the disorder. Treatment for PTSD may include psychotherapy (a sort of counseling), medication, or each.


Doctors use certain antidepressants to treat PTSD – and control the anxiety and associated symptoms – including:

Certain blood pressure medications are also sometimes used to regulate certain symptoms:

Experts recommend against using sedatives comparable to lorazepam (Ativan) or clonazepam (Klonopin) for post-traumatic stress disorder because studies haven’t shown them to be helpful and additionally they pose a risk of physical dependence or addiction.


Psychotherapy for PTSD involves helping the person learn skills to administer the symptoms and develop ways to manage. Therapy also goals to teach the person and their family in regards to the disorder and help them process the fears related to the traumatic event. Various psychotherapeutic approaches are used to treat individuals with PTSD, including:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy, This involves learning to acknowledge and alter thought patterns that result in disturbing emotions, feelings and behaviors.
  • long-term exposure therapy, A sort of behavioral therapy that involves making the person relive the traumatic event or exposing the person to things or situations that cause anxiety. This happens in a well-controlled and protected environment. Prolonged exposure therapy helps the person face the fear and regularly get used to frightening and frightening situations. This has been very successful in treating PTSD.
  • Psychodynamic therapy The focus is on helping the person examine their personal values ​​and the emotional conflicts attributable to the traumatic event.
  • Family therapy could be useful since the behavior of the person with PTSD can impact other members of the family.
  • Group therapy could be helpful by allowing the person to share thoughts, fears and feelings with other individuals who have experienced traumatic events.
  • Eye desensitization and processing (EMDR) is a fancy type of psychotherapy originally intended to alleviate traumatic memories and is now also used to treat phobias.

PTSD could cause problems in every aspect of your life, including your job, your relationships, your health, and your on a regular basis activities. It also can make you more prone to develop other mental health problems, comparable to:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • eating disorder
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions

Recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder is a gradual and ongoing process. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder rarely go away completely, but treatment may also help people cope more effectively. Treatment can lead to fewer and fewer intense symptoms, in addition to a greater ability to address the emotions related to the trauma.

Research is currently underway into the aspects that result in PTSD and recent treatments are being developed.

Some studies suggest that early intervention in individuals who have experienced trauma may relieve a number of the symptoms of PTSD or prevent it altogether.