What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that affects people who’ve witnessed or directly experienced a traumatic event. Known as shell shock during the first World War, and from the second World War onwards, combat fatigue, PTSD isn’t a problem that only affects people who’ve been in a war zone. Other traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:
- Natural disasters
- Road accident
- Terrorist acts
- Violent personal assaults
Any event that you, as an individual, find traumatic can lead to PTSD. It can also develop after prolonged exposure to abuse, or as a result of hearing bad news or seeing traumatic images.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
There are four categories of PTSD symptoms:
Intrusive thoughts could be nightmares or being unable to stop thinking about the event, but the most well-known of these symptoms is the flashback. When a sight or sound triggers a flashback, the experience can be so vivid you feel like you’re reliving the original trauma itself.
To prevent unwelcome reminders and flashbacks, people who have PTSD often start to avoid anything that could trigger these intrusive thoughts. You might avoid:
This can result in you withdrawing from life and closing down, so you avoid talking about what happened as well.
Negative thoughts and feelings
You might develop distorted beliefs, for example, thinking you are to blame or that something similar is going to happen to you again. You stop enjoying the activities that made you happy and start feeling detached from people you’re close to.
It’s common when you have PTSD to feel anger and fear, and be unable to let go of the horror that you experienced.
Arousal and reactive symptoms
Typical arousal and reactive symptoms include:
- Angry outbursts
- Reckless behavior
- Self-destructive behavior
- Being easily startled
- Problems concentrating
- Sleep disruption
You might develop symptoms soon after the event, but in many cases, symptoms don’t appear until much later. It’s common for people to feel these kinds of symptoms in the aftermath of a trauma, known as an acute stress disorder, but these feelings usually reduce over time. If you’re still feeling the same way after a month or more, it could be because acute stress disorder progressed to PTSD.
How is PTSD treated?
Treating PTSD at Gwinnett Psychiatry typically involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help reduce severe symptoms, while psychotherapy gives you a chance to come to terms with the event and why it was so traumatic for you.
Being able to heal the trauma is key to recovery from PTSD. In some cases, patients don’t respond to medication, in which case Gwinnett Psychiatry offers alternatives such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a safe, noninvasive method of increasing levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. Alternatively, they also offer ketamine therapies, which can help with treatment-resistant disorders.
You can also undergo eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), which is particularly effective in treating PTSD as it helps you address the negative effects of traumatic life events.
Find a way back from extreme trauma with the help of Gwinnett Psychiatry. Call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online for PTSD treatment.