PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a disorder that is developed in an individual after a traumatic incident in their life. These incidents can be any sexual harassment, any abuse during childhood which can leave an impact for a longer duration of time, death of any loved one which puts a person in stress and even depression or any incident that can cause physical and mental stress.
Symptoms of PTSD:
The symptoms of PTSD start developing within 2 months of the incident however in some cases they do not develop until many years. The symptoms linger around depending upon the severity of the incident due to which stress occurred. Some of the symptoms include:
Living the life in flashback, few people relive the incident, they might also hallucinate and have frequent nightmares.
The person avoids visiting the place where the incident has occurred and usually describes the place as haunting.
The person who suffers from this disorder usually have either low concentration levels or they overly concentrate on a particular thing.
Patients have high levels of irritability and panic frequently.
During the time of stress, they might also suffer from increased muscle tension and nausea.
Patients are victims of negative thoughts often.
Children suffering from PTSD might have delayed milestones, affecting even the speech and show slow development in learning some daily chores.
Patients show the attitude of detachment from close family and friends.
Multiple emotional changes appear in the person with them feeling either agitated or frightened for small reasons.
Associated medical conditions:
An individual who has sustained trauma and lived through it might also become a victim of depression, anxiety disorders, or mood swings. Drug abuse or alcohol abuse also co-exists with PTSD. Patients also suffer from anger management issues and children tend to throw more tantrums.
Approximately 3% of adults in America suffer from PTSD averagely in a year. And 8% of people are said to suffer from this disorder at some point in their lives. If the ratio is considered then women are most likely to suffer from PTSD than men since women are more prone to violence be it domestic or public compared to men.
The medical practitioner or psychiatrist begins the diagnosis by taking a complete medical history and records any incident if it has occurred in the past. The psychologist or psychiatrist are trained professionals to rule out any mental disorder. The psychiatrist makes a note of the symptoms the patient is been suffering and determines the extent of it and differentiates it with other mental conditions. PTSD is then diagnosed if the patient is presenting the symptoms for more than a month.
The treatment protocol varies from counseling the patient to prescribing medicines or both which is called psychotherapy.
Antidepressants are prescribed to curb with the excessive thoughts the patient is suffering and reduce the feeling of anxiety. Some of the antidepressants include citalopram, escitalopram, vilazodone, amitriptyline. Mood stabilizers are also prescribed such as asenapine, carbamazepine, etc. If the condition is worsened then the use of antipsychotics like risperidone, clozapine is considered. However, the use of tranquilizers is discouraged by some medical professionals since there are chances the patient might get addicted to them.
The term ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ was first recommended in early 1978. In the year 1980, the condition was described as a ‘posttraumatic stress disorder’. Later in ICD-10, the spelling was corrected to ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’.
Various psychotherapy is included in the treatment of PTSD apart from counseling. Psychotherapy focusses on making the patient learn ways to cope up with the negative feeling and help the patient fight against the fears they will be dealing post a traumatic incident. Some of the therapies are:
Behavioral therapy- this includes ‘cognitive-behavioral therapy’ which helps in recognizing and bring about a change in one’s own behavior and feelings. The other one is the ‘exposure therapy’ in which the patient is made to relive the incident and exposing them to incidents that have caused them anxiety and caused nervousness.
Other therapies include humanistic therapy and holistic therapy.
Some specialized cases require EMDR( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing ). This therapy is also used to treat phobias.