Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an emotional condition in the category of anxiety disorders. It develops in some people who are exposed to very frightening, life threatening or personally traumatic events.
Symptoms of PTSD may begin to occur immediately after a traumatic event or may take years to develop.
Situations that may cause PTSD include events such as military combat, physical assault and natural disasters or those created by man.
Some people in New York may develop PTSD if the experience was only a threat of personal injury or the event was only viewed and not actually experienced. Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms may be grouped into three general categories including avoidance of activities, re-experiencing the situation, and hyperarousal.
In order to be diagnosed with PTSD one must have 3 avoidance symptoms, 1 re-experiencing symptom and 2 hyperarousal symptoms for at least one month. These symptoms must also limit functioning or cause significant distress. PTSD is considered to be chronic if the condition lasts for more than 3 months. A condition known as Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) many have similar symptoms to PTSD but these symptoms will gradually subside, lasting less than one month.
Avoidance Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Situations that cause a person to remember the event may trigger avoidance symptoms. Avoidance symptoms may cause one to change daily activities and may lead to the development of phobias. The avoidance symptom group may include:
- Feeling numb
- Avoiding places or activities that are similar to the event
- Difficulty remembering the event
- Excessive feelings of worry or guilt
Re-experiencing Symptoms of PTSD
Relieving the experience that caused the PTSD is
- Troublesome dreams or nightmares
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Obsessive, frightening thoughts
Hyperarousal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may mentally require that the person is “on alert” all of the time. The adrenergic system of the body is activated in cases of threat, known as the “fight or flight” mechanism. Blood pressure, mental alertness and heart rate may be elevated. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. When a heightened physical state is maintained for a long period of time, certain symptoms of PTSD may appear including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Being easily startled
- Emotional outbursts
- Trouble concentrating
- Blackouts or difficulty remembering recent events
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is most common in people who have had disturbing personal events, experienced disasters whether natural or man-made and in combat personnel. Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder were not officially recognized as a medical condition until the 1980’s but clearly occurred in cases of “combat fatigue”. Children may also exhibit symptoms of PTSD, commonly seen as the sudden development of phobias, excessive nightmares, emotional instability or acting out the event through play.
Symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder may require use of psychiatric medications such as antidepressants and antianxiety agents. Some patients may also benefit from the use of antihypertensive medications to manage elevated blood pressure. While pharmacological treatment may be necessary, most patients will require New York Psychiatrist counseling or therapy to sift through the experience and re-evaluate responses under professional supervision.
Alternative therapies such as biofeedback and hypnosis may also be beneficial for some patients to train the mind to react differently to the perceived threat. Anger management and parenting classes may be important in teaching appropriate communication skills, particularly if the patient is having difficulty in personal relationships.
Families of PTSD sufferers may also benefit from family or individual counseling and education to deal with the emotional symptoms of PTSD they may have experienced from the actual patient. Family members and friends may be able to educate themselves to help the sufferer better deal with the disorder as well.