Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after going through a traumatic, intensely frightening or life-threatening situation. PTSD can be triggered by experiencing a number of extremely disturbing situations such as war, death of a loved one, life-threatening experiences, accidents, abuse, bullying, harassment, etc.  PTSD can leave one feeling extremely vulnerable, fearful, agitated and depressed. It is difficult to concentrate on work and other activities of life. But be encouraged because there is help available if this describes your current situation!  Different types of the treatments are available and therapy is considered very helpful to improve this condition!

Contributing Factors of PTSD

PTSD can affect anyone at any age. Tramatic events or intensely frightening situations such as abuse, assault, sexual assault, unrelenting bullying, drug use, severe accidents, death, natural calamities, or combat can have a profound effect on your sense of security and perceptions and could result in PTSD.   Stress, ridicule and the lack of social and family support can make the condition worse.

Symptoms of PTSD

You might not experience any symptoms for months or years. In some cases, you might have some of the symptoms soon after the incident. These symptoms may or may not be continual. They might come and go without your notice. But if these are intense, make your life difficult, or cause major distress, you might need to visit your doctor for treatment. Please note that no two people are alike and symptoms will vary greatly from person to person based on their personal belief systems and innate coping mechanisms, but here are four basic symptoms or manifestations of PTSD:

1. Flashback: With this symptom, you will feel like you are reliving the frightening event. The bad memories will make you feel that you are going through that condition again.

2. Avoidance of Similar Events: Many people will go to great lengths to ignore or avoid anything that triggers or is a reminder of the traumatic memory. You might not even like to discuss anything remotely related.

3. Negativity: You might develop the feeling of guilt. You might think that you are responsible for such shame. You might not be able to trust anyone and you will try to avoid the things that give you pleasure. You will be surrounded by the negative thoughts.

4. Hyper Arousal: You might be more careful about everything and may find yourself in a constant state of high alert. It is common to have problems sleeping and maintaining your concentration. Irritability and lack of patience is also a common symptom here as well.

5. Other common symptoms also include feelings of  helplessness, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, drug problems, and employment problems.

Can Children Develop this Condition?

As mentioned earlier, anyone can develop this condition irrespective of age. But the symptoms will vary depending on the age and will manifest their fears in different ways.   Children younger than six tend to feel unsafe in the absence of their parents. Children aged seven to eleven might have difficulty in concentration, physical activities, and they might face difficulties in making friendship as well. Children aged twelve to eighteen will face the similar symptoms like the adults.

Treatment of PTSD

There are several ways to treat PTSD including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing, medication, etc. Sometimes therapy includes a combination of these types of therapy. When it comes to medication, talk with your psychologist or psychologist about the best one for your specific situation.  Every medication is different and will affect your body using a different method. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors are among the most popular PTSD medications, but again, speak to your doctor regarding what is best for you. Your doctor will carefully discuss your medical history before prescribing any medication. Avoid trying to self medicate because it might severely complicate your condition.

In Conclusion

PTSD is a complex situation that can take time to be understood and unraveled. Remember to be patient with yourself and acknowledge each step of progress, even though it might seem like you are just inching along. It is very important to seek treatment and counsel if you are feeling like this could be your situation. Dr. Michael Cristiano is a highly respected psychologist who specializes in PTSD, anxiety, depression, and many other symptoms that go along with PTSD. Maintaining the highest level of professionalism, Dr. Cristiano is a leader in his field and has been awarded the coveted Psychology Today verification. If you are struggling with PTSD or any other issue, reach out to Dr. Cristiano today at (561) 571-2772 to set up an appointment. Take the first step to getting back on track to being your best you!