Symptoms:

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include the following:

  • Intense feelings of distress when reminded of a tragic event
  • Extreme physical reactions to reminders of trauma such as a nausea, sweating or a pounding heart
  • Invasive, upsetting memories of a tragedy
  • Flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening again)
  • Nightmares of either frightening things or of the event
  • Loss of interest in life and daily activities
  • Feeling emotionally numb and detached from other people
  • Sense of a not leading a normal life (not having a positive outlook of your future)
  • Avoiding certain activities, feelings, thoughts or places that remind you of the tragedy
  • Difficulty remembering important aspects of a tragic event

Causes:

PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later. PTSD is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it’s not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others don’t.

Types of events that can lead to PTSD include:

  • serious road accidents
  • violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  • a traumatic birth
  • prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
  • witnessing violent deaths
  • military combat
  • being held hostage
  • terrorist attacks
  • natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis
  • a diagnosis of a life-threatening condition
  • an unexpected severe injury or death of a close family member or friend

Treatment:

The main treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are psychological therapies and medication. Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. It’s possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it’s never too late to seek help. The main treatments are:

  • Antidepressants – such as paroxetine or mirtazapine
  • Psychological therapies – such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)  
  • Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
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5 thoughts on “What is PTSD?

  1. I didn’t realise that mirtazapine, which I was prescribed in 2014 for depression, was actually for ptsd. It did work the best though and now I think I know why! It was the fourth one I had tried that year.
    I’ve had two rounds of psychotherapy (2015 and in 2018) and learnt plenty of coping mechanisms and I’ve come to terms with a lot of trauma but PTSD is a shadow and it just follows. Least I know how to handle it now though, makes life liveable.

    Liked by 1 person

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