Post Traumatic Stress Disorder : PTSD Symptoms
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening occurrence, such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adulthood or childhood.
During this type of event, you think that your life or other’s lives are in danger and it’s natural to feel afraid. In fact, the fear you feel is useful in helping the body prepare to either defend against the danger or avoid it. This is known as the fight-or-flight reaction.
Some people may continue to feel frightened after the danger has passed. This is a normal reaction and for most people, it lessens with time. For people with PTSD however, the reaction doesn’t lessen over time and people with PTSD continue to feel frightened long after the danger has passed.
People with PTSD experience symptoms that fall into three categories.
01-Re-Experiencing Symptoms: (PTSD)
First, they may have re-experiencing symptoms which includes:
Flashbacks in which they relive the trauma over and over, along with physical signs, such as a racing heart or sweating. They may also have bad dreams or frightening thoughts.
Re-experiencing may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. Words, objects, or situations that remind them of the event can trigger re-experiencing. An example of a trigger can be a car backfiring, which may bring back memories of gunfire in war for a combat veteran.
02-Avoidance Symptoms: (PTSD)
The second category of symptoms is avoidance symptoms. These involve staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the trauma. People with avoidance symptoms may feel numb emotionally and may lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.
They may have trouble remembering the traumatic event and may isolate themselves from other people.
Reminders of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms and cause a person to change their personal routine. For instance, after a bad car accident, a person may avoid driving or riding in a car.
03– Hyperarousal Symptoms: (PTSD)
Altogether, the third category of symptoms is Hyperarousal. People with these symptoms are easily startled, feel tense or on edge, have difficulty sleeping, or may have angry outbursts.
These symptoms can make a person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to perform daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating. People with PTSD often develop additional disorders, such as depression, substance abuse, and other physical and mental illnesses.
These may lead to impairment of the person’s ability to function in social or family settings including job instability, marital problems, and family problems.
It is estimated that more than 70% of Americans suffer a traumatic event at some time in their lives and approximately 20% of trauma survivors develop PTSD, although most people who experience a traumatic event will not develop PTSD. The risk increases if people were directly exposed to the traumatic event as a victim or a witness, or were seriously injured during the trauma.
The risk also increases if the person experienced a trauma that was long lasting or very severe. They can feel detached from their surroundings or have a panic attack and feel helpless during the trauma.