Posttraumatic stress disorder is the onset of a specific set of symptoms in response to an extreme traumatic event in one’s life. It is gender-independent, affecting both men and women of all ages. The causes of post traumatic stress disorder, as well as the events leading to it, are just as varied. PTSD in children and adults can result from trauma during childhood, such as children in abusive homes. Victims of rape, assault, or abuse can develop PTSD due to their traumatic experiences. Social workers, emergency service workers, members of the military, and many others’ occupations also expose them to such traumatic events.
How to Recognize PTSD:
The signs of post-traumatic stress disorder must continue for more than 30 days for a PTSD diagnosis. If these symptoms last less time, than they may rather be signs of acute stress disorder. The length of time after the traumatic event before these symptoms onset do not negate the possibility for PTSD, or make the emotions or experiences any less valid. The duration of post traumatic stress disorder’s symptoms likewise do not invalidate the seriousness of the illness, or the events experienced. DSM-IV defines acute post-traumatic stress disorder as lasting less than three months, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder as lasting three months or more, and delayed-onset post-traumatic stress disorder as when symptoms of PTSD occur six months or more after the trauma.
Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder include:
- Persistent preoccupation with the traumatic experience affecting daily life
- Dissociation – emotional numbness, a perceived disconnection between cognitive thought and the body or emotional state
- Increased arousal – such as hypervigilance, insomnia, difficulty staying asleep, or anger issues
- Flashbacks – recurring dreams revolving around the traumatic experience, flashback memories, intense reaction to any reminder of the trauma experienced
- Depression – feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and difficulties in previously established relationships
- Treatment Options for PTSD
There are several post traumatic stress disorder therapies and medications available. However, there is no single recovery plan to deal with reactions to trauma, nor is there any one-time cure to “get over” PTSD. A preliminary appointment with our clinic can help work out individual PTSD therapy options. Medication to help regulate the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder is available, as well as psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).