Introduction to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 3.6% of the US Adult population experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past year. PTSD is a serious mental health condition linked to the way our brain processes traumatic events. Following a traumatic event, people diagnosed with PTSD typically do not begin to feel better within a few weeks or months following the event.
Common Causes Linked to PTSD
- Child Sexual or Physical Abuse
- Life – Threatening Events
- Natural Disasters
- Serious Accidents
- Sudden Death of a Loved One
- Terrorist Incident / Attack
- Violent Assault: Sexual or Physical
Common Symptoms Associated with PTSD
- Avoiding certain triggers that act as reminders of the traumatic event.
- Constantly feeling like something bad will happen.
- Development of a lack of trust or closeness with loved ones.
- Feeling more sad, scared, or angry emotions post the traumatic event.
- Feeling numb due to the traumatic event.
- Feeling on edge, easily startled or trouble sleeping that develops post trauma.
- Feeling upset, distracted, or absent when reminded of the traumatic event.
- Having trouble cultivating and holding on to relationships with loved ones.
- Nightmares or flashbacks that feels like the trauma is happening all over again.
Common Treatment Options
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): focuses on identifying, understanding and changing thinking and behavior patterns by focusing on the trauma.
- Present Centered Therapy (PCT): focuses on the impact of the trauma in relation to dealing with current life stressors.
- Medications: commonly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Benzodiazepines.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with PTSD, visit a doctor or mental health care provider to determine a treatment plan that works best for you or your loved one.