Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that is triggered after experiencing or witnessing some traumatic incident such as a horrible accident, sudden death of a loved one, natural calamity, physical or sexual abuse, terrorist intervention, kidnapping, rape, serious injury, war, childhood neglect, assault, or any other life-threatening event.

The symptoms of PTSD include emotional numbness; avoidant behaviors such as avoiding the conversations, thoughts, or feelings about the traumatic event; avoiding all kinds of activities, places, or people that are related to the particular traumatic incident; and difficulties in clearly recalling the important part of the trauma. Signs of detachment, sleep disturbances, lack of interest in daily activities, poor concentration, irritability, anger outbursts, and anxiety are also present.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The affected people also tend to experience somatic symptoms such as headache, sweating, digestive problems, heart-pounding, and rapid heartbeat after thinking about or recalling the traumatic event. They may have nightmares related to the traumatic experience and have disturbing flashbacks of the traumatic event, as if the event was repeating itself all over again. The affected people may also neglect health care and personal self-care. They continue to be severely restless and depressed for months or even years, which can seriously affect their quality of life and general functioning. Anger, nervousness, guilt, shock, or fear can be the initial reactions of people who experienced a traumatic event. With time, such feelings start to persist and increase. They become so strong and dominant that the affected person fails to live a normal life.

People with PTSD have symptoms for more than one month and cannot function as well as before. PTSD can be triggered among people who either directly experience the traumatic event, who are eyewitnesses to a traumatic event, or those who come to the rescue after the occurrence of a traumatic event, such as emergency staff members or rescue teams. Moreover, the family members or friends of those who experienced the trauma can also be affected by PTSD symptoms. Studies suggest that women are comparatively twice more vulnerable to developing posttraumatic stress disorder than men. However, children can also develop the symptoms of PTSD after experiencing a traumatic incident.

It is also concluded in the research that depression, substance use disorders, or other types of anxiety disorders can also occur as comorbid disorders along with PTSD. Psychotherapy and counseling have proved to be very effective for the management of posttraumatic stress disorder. Counseling attempts to help patients manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It also educates the patients to manage their stress effectively to learn relaxation skills and mindfulness techniques to get over the previous traumatic event and live in the present. Exposure therapy can also be sometimes used to help the patients talk about their experiences instead of avoiding them. Counseling attempts to help the patients live with their trauma without becoming anxious or stressed out. Tools like writing, imagination, or actually visiting the place of a traumatic event are also used in counseling as well.