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Key Information About Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Updated on April 5, 2019
srirad0675 profile image

Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Overview

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

An estimated 3.6 percent of the world's population suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder in 2012.

Source

Types

Type
Description
Acute PTSD
Symptoms last less than three months
Chronic PTSD
Symptoms last at least three months
Delayed-onset PTSD
Symptoms manifest at least six months following a traumatic event

Causes

As is usually the case with mental health problems, doctors cannot pinpoint why some people develop posttraumatic stress disorder.

Those who have a history of trauma and stress are more likely to develop PTSD than those who do not have a similar history.

While any traumatic event can trigger PTSD symptoms, common traumas that have been linked to this mental illness include:

  • accidents, like car crash
  • natural disasters, like earthquake
  • acts of terrorism
  • violent crimes, like murder
  • physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • neglect
  • house fire
  • exposure to violence in the community
  • suicide of a family member or friend.

Source

Symptoms

PTSD is characterized by three main types of symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.

Treatment

PTSD can be treated. With treatment trauma survivors can feel safe in the world and live happy and productive lives. Effective treatments for PTSD include different types of psychotherapy and medication.

Four interventions are strongly recommended, all of which are variations of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

The category of CBT encompasses various types and elements of treatment used by cognitive behavioral therapists, while Cognitive Processing Therapy, Cognitive Therapy and Prolonged Exposure are all more specialized treatments that focus on particular aspects of CBT interventions.

In 1987 psychologist Francine Shapiro developed a new type of psychotherapy known as EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from PTSD.

There is no one medication that treats all the symptoms of PTSD, yet some medications can help with some symptoms and also increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy.

Antidepressants, atypical antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics are used to treat PTSD.

Source

Prevention

Ways to prevent PTSD include keeping civilian and military populations out of harm's way and completely eliminating emotional traumas associated with rape, violent crime, or severe accidents. Unfortunately, neither goal is possible to achieve.

Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis suggest that their findings could lead to more accurate diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

— Catharine Paddock PhD

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

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    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      5 months ago

      Welcome.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      5 months ago

      This is an interesting article - I treat PTSD and see first-hand just how debilitating this condition can be. Prevention is always better than the cure, however, unfortunately we have a long way to go before we can live in a world where we can all feel safe. Thank you for sharing.

    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      5 months ago

      Thank you.

    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      5 months ago

      True.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      5 months ago from North Carolina

      I agree with Liz. Thank you for sharing. Interesting read.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      Many years ago, nothing was said of post traumatic stress disorder. It is good that it is more widely recognised and treated these days, but there is still progress to be made.

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