You most likely won’t get through life without a fair amount of stress. However, some people experience not just stress, sadness or grief, but actual trauma. This can be from events like being involved in a bad car accident, rape, a natural disaster, or war.
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a result of experiencing traumatic and stressful life experiences. First, it is a condition where the mind is unable to process the event like it processes ordinary life events. Secondly, the result is a brain that misfires information, causing the person to live much of their life distressed, as if the event were still happening to them.
Symptoms of Trauma
There are many symptoms associated with PTSD, but the most common ones are:
- Nightmares and/or flashbacks
- Psychological/physiological distress at reminders
- Avoidance of internal and external reminders
- Negative beliefs about oneself and the world
- Distorted blaming of oneself
- Negative persistent emotional states
- Loss of interests
- Detachment from loved ones
- Hyper vigilance
- Exaggerated startle response
- Difficulty concentrating and sleeping
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Self-destructive or reckless behavior
Causes of PTSD
Researchers are not altogether clear on why some people experience PTSD and others don’t. For example, what makes one soldier come home from war with PTSD and another is fine?
The best we can guess is that development of PTSD is likely from a combination of complex factors such as neurological, stress, life experiences, personality, and genetics. Additionally, there are pre-traumatic psychological factors (low self-esteem, for example) that may increase the risk factor for developing PTSD.
How Can Trauma be Treated?
The most common form of treatment for PTSD is something called cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the more common forms of PTSD treatment. Moreover, this kind of therapy involves meeting with a specially-trained therapist over a number of sessions to learn strategies and technique. This will reduce and/or eliminate symptoms of PTSD such as recurring thoughts, emotional numbness, sleep issues, and concentration problems. Beyond finding a trained therapist, it’s important to find one you and your family feel comfortable with. Make sure to interview a few candidates to see who might help you on your journey to wellness.
If you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I would be more than happy to see how I may be able to help.