Common Signs and Causes of PTSD

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a psychological disease that plagues over 6 percent of Americans today. While most commonly known as a disorder affecting soldiers returning from combat situations, PTSD can be caused by a variety of traumatic encounters or events. Fortunately, the treatments for PTSD are vast, and identifying the symptoms and/or receiving a positive diagnosis are the first steps toward management and control.

What it Is?
PTSD is considered a “trauma and stressor-related disorder”, requiring previous exposure to traumatic events with persistence of fear- or anxiety-based symptoms. Individuals often develop symptoms of PTSD when placed in a situation in which they fear for their life or the lives of others around them. Because of the intense and traumatic nature of combat, many veterans develop symptoms of PTSD after returning from deployment in war zones.

Other traumatic situations can have similar effects, though. Victims of rape, physical or sexual abuse, survivors of car wrecks or natural disasters including hurricanes or tornados, and survivors of terrorist attacks or other such events can all develop signs and symptoms of PTSD due to the stressful nature of their respective scenarios. The severity of the symptoms, or whether or not an individual succumbs to PTSD, depends on many factors related to the event itself.

How to Spot It?
Symptoms of PTSD can develop rapidly after a traumatic event occurs, and can present themselves in a variety of ways. Common signs include:

- Nightmares reliving the event

- Avoiding situations that remind the sufferer of the event

- Changes in beliefs or feelings about life or surroundings

- Periods of intense jittery or nervous feelings

Without treatment, symptoms of PTSD can develop into other disorders causing lasting problems for the suffering individual. Many diagnosed with PTSD have developed addictions to medications or alcohol, depression or feelings of guilt or shame, relationship problems resulting in separation or divorce, and intense feelings of suicide that can leave psychologically crippling effects.

While less common, children can also develop PTSD related to a variety of events in their lives, and will often display their symptoms in similar ways with a usual increase in aggressive and destructive behavior.

How to Treat It?
Like any psychological disorder, reaching a “cure” for PTSD is difficult, but adequate treatment can help sufferers cope with their symptoms and in turn live productive, normal lives. A few different types of psychotherapy are available for PTSD, with each effective for different cases. These include:

- Cognitive Processing Therapy – a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a patient learns how the trauma altered their feelings and beliefs

- Prolonged Exposure Therapy – a type of therapy in which constant discussion of the trauma causes the memories to no longer upset the patient

- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – therapy in which the patient discusses the trauma while watching hand movements

Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are also available, having success in reducing the symptoms.

Living a Healthy Life..
PTSD can be a terrible disorder with which to live, but spotting the symptoms and receiving adequate help from a professional can have a patient move on from the trauma to lead a healthy and productive life.
About the author:
This article was provided by Samantha Greenbaum,volunteer nurse, mother and yoga fanatic.To find out more about PTSD, check out

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