Fighting the Invisible Scars of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder that develops in some people after they have witnessed or experienced a traumatic or life threatening event like a car accident, sexual assault, natural disaster or a sudden death of a loved one. It is usually normal to get upset, have sleepless nights or have difficulty in doing your normal activities after such an experience, but time being the best healer most people tend to feel better a few days or months. But if such symptoms persist and interfere with your work or lifestyle you might be suffering from PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is detected in a person if he or she is diagnosed with having nightmares, avoidance symptoms, re-experiencing symptoms, reactivity symptoms or mood symptoms constantly for more than five to six weeks. Children detected with PTSD react differently like wetting the bed, clinging to their parents, being unable to talk or acting the scary event during playtime. One feature of PTSD is that symptoms vary in intensity. They might get worse when the patient is stressed out or when he is reminded of the incident in some way or the other. General symptoms witnessed are the patient is drenched in sweating and shaking violently due to fear, some experience their heart beat racing loudly while seeing images and hearing noises while some go into a deep depression and anxiety and want to just stay alone and isolated.
Treatment of PTSD.
PTSD needs to be treated by a psychiatrist, psychologist or a medical health provider who should be experienced enough to deal with different treatments in accordance to the varying symptoms. Medication includes antidepressants that can effectively deal with depressive state, sleep problems including nightmares. At times medicines are prescribed along with psychotherapy depending on the patient’s requirements.
Cognitive behavioral therapy includes Exposure therapy and Cognitive restructuring by exposing them to the trauma in a safe way or trying to convince them that whatever happened is not their fault so there should be no shame or guilt involved. Talk therapies too help to relax the patients by educating them to react positively to frightening events.
Studies have shown that support of family and friends plays a vital role in the recovery of such patients. Beyond all treatments a PTSD patient can help himself/herself by exercising to reduce stress or engaging in some physical activity or spending time with friends and family.