Key Information About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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.
Symptoms last less than three months
Symptoms last at least three months
Symptoms manifest at least six months following a traumatic event
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
- house fire
- exposure to violence in the community
- suicide of a family member or friend.
Chronic stress increases acyl-ghrelin for years after the initial traumatic stressor exposure in some adolescents.
Those with elevated levels of this blood-based hormone are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
Experts say fireworks celebrations and explosions can trigger symptoms for people with this condition.
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.
Computerized adaptive assessment tools for veterans with PTSD produced valid screening diagnoses and severity scores, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open in July 2021.
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.
Adding 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) to integrative psychotherapy may significantly improve symptoms and well-being for patients with severe posttraumatic stress disorder, including those with the dissociative subtype.
A recent phase 3 clinical trial found that MDMA, in combination with talk therapy, was significantly more effective than talk therapy alone, in treating this disorder.
Eight million American adults experience PTSD annually, and with limited FDA approved therapies, there is a large unmet medical need.
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
PTSD and COVID-19
PTSD had a prevalence of 30.2 percent among acute COVID-19 infection survivors, researchers found in a cross-sectional study published in JAMA Psychiatry in March 2021.
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