Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Section 1: What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by a traumatic event that is beyond the levels of human experience, such a witnessing a brutal crime, combat in war, or being the victim of a sexual assault or abusive relationship. Rape, in particular, is one of the most common causes of PTSD. 31% of all victims develop Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (RR-PTSD) sometime in their lifetimes. In the United States, 1.3 million women currently have RR-PTSD, 3.8 million women have previously had RR-PTSD and roughly 211,000 women will develop RR-PTSD each year. About 4% of the population will experience symptoms of PTSD during any given year

After an extremely traumatic experience, a person will cope with it in their own way, and it is possible for the symptoms of PTSD to remain hidden for quite some time. Usually, the symptoms of PTSD will begin to appear within the first three months, but it can even take as long as a few years.

Not all people who have suffered from a traumatic event will develop PTSD. It is unknown why some people are more likely to develop PTSD than others, but studies are frequently being performed to find the answer.

Post traumatic stress disorder can occur at any age. Symptoms may be mild or severe, anywhere from mild symptoms, to inability to function in normal life. It is also unknown why some people are more likely to have worse symptoms, but it can be connected to the level of trauma the person had experienced.

The following is a list of common symptoms connected to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Not every symptom applies to everyone, and not all possible symptoms are listed here. If you, or someone you know, is a possible sufferer of PTSD, seek the advice of a medical professional. Studies show that the earlier the disorder is spotted, the easier is it to successfully treat.

Section 2: Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Frequent Memories Of The Stressful Event: Whatever the source of the problem, some people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in the form of nightmares and disturbing recollections during the day. Seeing things that are a reminder of the incident may be very distressing, which could lead to avoidance of certain places or situations that bring back those memories. Anniversaries of the event are often very difficult. Ordinary events can serve as reminders of the trauma and trigger flashbacks or intrusive images. A flashback may make the person lose touch with reality and reenact the event for a period of seconds or hours or, very rarely, days. A person having a flashback, which can come in the form of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, usually believes that the traumatic event is happening all over again.

Extreme Depression: depression, to the point of considering suicide, is one of the most common symptoms of PTSD, and also one of the most serious. Depression, at any level, is something that should be taken seriously. A medical professional should be seen as soon as possible if the depression begins to increase in intensity, or remains for long periods at a time.

Sleep Disturbances: Examples of sleeping disorders include: sleeping constantly or insomnia and frequent nightmares.

Extreme Sensitivity To Noises (Causing The Startle Reflex): After a traumatic event, the body maintains a enhanced fight-or-flight reflex, causing the body to respond to loud or sudden noises.

A Generalized Fear Of Others/Paranoia: A person suffering from PTSD will be very likely to shrink and cower when faced with new people, and quite often with people already known. Fear of a re-occurrence of the traumatic event is possibly the reasoning for this behavior.

Other Symptoms Include: emotional numbness, severe mood swings, marital or dating problems, inability to perform sexually, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, or discomfort in other parts of the body. Often, doctors treat the symptoms without being aware that they are caused from PTSD. When PTSD is diagnosed, referral to a mental health professional who has had experience treating people with the disorder is recommended

Section 3: Treatments For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
There are many different forms of therapy that can be successful in treating Post traumatic stress disorder. Such as:

Medications: Medications, although not cures, can be very effective at relieving anxiety symptoms. Medication, along with a consistent form of therapy, can be quite beneficial in treating the condition. For most medications used to treat PTSD, the dosage is started off quite small, increasing slowly over time. This helps the doctor decide if the medication prescribed is right for that person.

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients to react differently to the situations and bodily sensations that trigger panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms. However, patients also learn to understand how their thinking patterns contribute to their symptoms and how to change their thoughts so that symptoms are less likely to occur.

Group Psychotherapy: Some people adapt well to group situations, in which others share their similar experiences under the supervision of a trained professional. Having others to relate to, especially in traumatic situations, can be helpful in therapy.

Exposure Therapy: Various forms of exposure therapy (such as systemic desensitization and imaginal flooding) have all been used with PTSD patients. Exposure treatment for PTSD involves repeated reliving of the trauma, under controlled conditions, with the goal of working through the trauma and making it easier to cope with.

Post traumatic stress disorder is a condition that is constantly being researched, and new breakthroughs are made every day. It is hard, however, to get through each day while being a sufferer of PTSD. If you, or someone you know, is a possible sufferer, seek the advice of a medical professional as soon as possible.

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