PTSD – Understanding Its Impact on Your Mental Health
When individuals experience a traumatic event, it can have long lasting effects that affect their ability to function in everyday life. Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a recognized mental health condition that can occur after people undergo severe emotional experiences. A number of treatments for PTSD are available to help individuals who have undergone trauma to restore their lives to normal.
What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
Postraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric condition that involves a variety of symptoms that occur after an individual has experienced a traumatic event. Most people recover from an extremely upsetting experience over time. However, individuals with PTSD continue to experience flashbacks, nightmares and other disturbing emotional reactions for some time after the event. PTSD usually begins within 3 months of the trauma.
Symptoms of PTSD
Posttraumatic stress disorder is recognized by a host of different symptoms that occur to different degrees in each person. These symptoms may include: Being easily startled, sleep problems or nightmares, outbursts of anger, avoiding places or events that are similar to the traumatic event and call the event to mind, feeling emotionally numb, depression or constant worry, losing interest in enjoyable activities, memory problems, particularly in regard to the traumatic event.
People who have gone through a natural disaster, combat, violence or abuse can develop symptoms of PTSD. Even a severe car accident can bring on symptoms of PTSD, with hyper-alertness, sleep problems, flashbacks of the event and depression. A Las Vegas car accident attorney knows that the aftermath of a car accident can disturb your peace of mind. Health experts do not know why some people experience PTSD and some do not. It may be because of inherited predisposition or brain chemical dysfunction. Psychological treatment is often necessary to repair the damage from the traumatic event.
Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder may include the use of prescription anti-depressant medications or anti-anxiety drugs. A high blood pressure medication called prazosin can also be used to reduce sleep problems associated with PTSD. A number of types of psychological therapy are used to help patients with PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients to monitor their thoughts and emotions and actively work toward changing their reactions. Exposure therapy can help patients gradually become accustomed to situations similar to the traumatic event, either by using real life experiences or virtual reality programs. A therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) combines therapy with guided eye movements that help to reduce PTSD symptoms.
With proper treatment, individuals with PTSD can resume their normal activities free of the emotions and behaviors that are characteristic of this condition.