Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that was first diagnosed in veterans of war. Today, about a 4% of the adult population suffers from it, mostly women. It is a situation that the person experiences after a stressful event that happened to them or that the person was witness to (eg a car accident) or a prolonged traumatic experience (eg physical or psychological abuse) and is combined with lessened functionality of the individual or difficulty to adapt to everyday life.
How is it caused? When a person experiences an intensely stressful situation or a recurring traumatic experience, the body activates a set of chemical reactions so that it can survive and overcome the threatening situation. The hormones our body produces, combined with the intensity of the event, the personality, and a history of pre-existing mental illness, are likely to lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What are the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder often brings trauma resuscitation to the individual and may be associated with repulsions, while it can cause increased arousal and adversely affected mood, usually within 3 months of the traumatic experience. The most common symptoms are:
- Reviving the trauma through vivid memories or dreams.
- Constant sense of alert, ie the person behaves as if the danger is still real.
- Avoid situations that can bring memories of the traumatic event (avoidance of roads, events, people, emotions).
- Sleep difficulties or interrupted sleep due to dreams, intense stress, or physical reactions, such as sweating.
- Difficulty in concentrating, bad mood, nervousness.
- Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, or emotional numbness.
What we need to remember is that stress is a normal reaction to an abnormal event and for this reason, we need to give ourselves time to accept the trauma and adapt to a new reality, that will include this traumatic experience. Latest research gives Post-Traumatic Stress a new, positive dimension, which concerns the discovery of a new inner self. A self that has survived a traumatic experience and is now shaped by new possibilities, greater mental resilience, and a new perspective in life.
Immediate diagnosis and systematic psychotherapy can be beneficial for the life of a person suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Decrease of unwanted thoughts, can help the person to become mentally stronger and to regain a sense of control in his life.