What is post traumatic stress disorder? Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder that develops after a person has been exposed to a traumatizing experiences and events which may be any of the following- sexual assault e.g. rape, traffic accident, kidnapping, sudden death of a loved one, physical abuse, war, child abuse etc. This is very common in adults, children under 10 years of age do not have strong tendency to develop PTSD.
Most people who had non-traumatic experiences such as natural occurrences and accidents do not easily develop PTSD symptoms like those who had interpersonal traumatic experiences, so also about half of people who were raped exhibit PTSD symptoms according to a study. It has been suggested that most people will have traumatizing experience once in their life time.
Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms are often treated by dealing with the expressed symptoms, and most times counseling helps.
Before a particular behavior or attribute can be regarded as a post-traumatic stress disorder symptom, it must have lingered on for at least one month, it must never have been exhibited before the traumatic experience, so also it must have caused dysfunction in life as well as show certain levels of clinical distress.
The following set of people are at a very high risk of having post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Military personnel.
- Natural disaster victims
- Emergency service workers
- Concentration camp survivors
- Those who witness traumatic events unfolding.
Symptoms of Post traumatic stress disorder
Those who had traumatizing experiences may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Disturbing thoughts, feelings, dreams of bad experiences and intense arousal especially when it involves sexual assault.
- If you keep having thoughts of bad experiences, or feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories you might be suffering from PTSD.
- You constantly try to avoid the thoughts of a bad experience.
- Depression and hopelessness
- Guilt and shame
- Drug abuse, feeling of mistrust
- Irritability and aggression
- Sleep deprivation and interrupted sleep patterns.
- Compulsive attitude. This is quite common in children.
- Increased anxiety
If you had a traumatic experience in the past, and you exhibit one or more of the aforementioned symptoms, you may do the following:
- See your doctor as soon as possible, you might be suffering from chronic mental stress associated with a previous bad experience.
- Try to exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes, outdoor activities such as martial arts, rock climbing, weight lifting, boxing, jogging etc. helps a lot to relieve your mood provided you do it regularly.
- As much as connecting with the people around you might seems to be hard, it helps. Support from families and friends helps, and could be instrumental to your recovery.
- Volunteering to do social activities can help you to relate your past experience with others who are going through the same and via such you may see people of like minds to connect with for emotional strength and support.
If you are exhibiting some or all of these PTSD symptoms, you need to avoid the following:
- Avoid alcohol and hard drugs.
- Eat well balanced diet.
- Try to get enough sleep. Homeopathic treatments may help a lot, so also always try to blank out your mind especially at night. This may help to make you forget the traumatic experience considerably. You can always aim for between 7-9 hours daily. It will help a lot.
- Always take your time to relax especially in serene environments.