Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder caused by a traumatic experience, such as military combat, sexual assault, a natural disaster, or a serious accident. Severe PTSD can have an detrimental effect on a person’s overall health and impede daily life activities.
The psychological and physical effects of an extreme trauma can cause the development of PTSD in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Common triggers of PTSD can include war, physical or sexual abuse, assault, an accident, or an unexpected death of a loved one. People exposed to these types of traumas for longer periods of time are more likely to develop symptoms of PTSD.
It’s common to experience feelings of anxiety and depression when exposed to a traumatic event, and the symptoms may last weeks or months. People with PTSD often may experience flashbacks or nightmares of the event, as well as intense physiological responses triggered by reminders of the trauma. Other symptoms may include insomnia, feelings of detachment, feelings of hopelessness, or anger. Even individuals that weren’t directly effected by the trauma may experience symptoms of PTSD.
Often times, PTSD symptoms can be alleviated with the help of a combination of medications, cognitive treatments, and psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy have proven to be effective in treating PTSD. Other forms of therapy may involve desensitization, meditation, and restorative yoga.
Unmanaged PTSD is linked with several health complications, including heart disease, weakened immune system, digestive issues, and many more. It is important for those suffering from PTSD to seek appropriate mental health care and support. Talking to a qualified therapist will help identify the triggers that may be causing PTSD, assess the severity of symptoms, and create the best possible treatment plan.
It’s vital that all individuals, especially those exposed to a traumatic event, take proactive steps to address their mental health and wellness. Reaching out for help, building a supportive network, and turning to additional resources, such as available support groups, are all essential for improving one’s overall mental health and wellbeing.