PTSD is different for everyone who experiences this unfortunate illness. It can last a few months, a few years, or a lifetime. Symptoms may lessen, but they may never be gone.
The definition of PTSD.
PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can be at risk for developing this illness.
Causes of PTSD
Traumatic events that could lead to the development of PTSD can be experiences such as, natural disasters, military combat, abuse, serious accidents, physical or sexual assault and family tragedy. The risk of developing PTSD increases when;
- They were directly exposed to the event.
- Were seriously injured during the traumatic event.
- Experienced a long lasting trauma.
- Felt helpless during the trauma and was unable to help a friend or loved one.
Individuals at higher risk for developing PTSD are those;
- Who have experienced an earlier life traumatic event.
- That are female.
- That are younger.
- Who have a lack of social and emotional support.
- Have recent stressful life changes.
The three major types of symptoms of PTSD.
- Reliving the trauma - An individual may become upset when experiencing something that reminds them of the trauma, or if they begin to think about it.
- Staying away - An individual may avoid visiting places or people that remind them of the traumatic event. They may isolate themselves, or feel numb.
- Reactions - An individual may experience unusual reactions to everyday experiences and activities such as, hypersensitivity, being on guard, irritability and startling easily.
Additional disorders caused by PTSD.
An individual who has developed PTSD may also experience further disorders such as, but not limited to;
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Mental or physical health problems
How long does PTSD last?
Unfortunately there is no time limit for recovery for PTSD. An individual can suffer from this for any period of time, from a few months, to an entire lifetime. One individual may develop PTSD immediately following the incident and another may only begin to develop symptoms several years later. Effective treatment can reduce symptoms, but unfortunately they may never be fully cured.
Treatments available for PTSD.
- Psychotherapy - This is 'talk therapy' such as a counsellor or psychiatrist.
- Pharmacotherapy - Medication.
- CBT - 'Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy' - This involves cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy, and eye movement
desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
For more information on PTSD signs, symptoms and treatments available visit the National Center for PTSD website.