What is PTSD? Are War Veterans the only people who develop PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that’s triggered by a terrifying event which is experienced personally, or is witnessed, or is experienced by those who pick up the pieces after a catastrophic event such as emergency workers and law enforcement officers.
Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event develops PTSD. You may experience fear and anxiety, have difficulty concentrating or notice your sleeping and eating patterns change, or you may feel sadness and have difficulty not thinking about the event and even have nightmares. This doesn’t mean that you have PTSD. …
If you have disturbing experience for more than a month, or if you feel that you’re feeling stuck and you’re not improving and it’s negatively affecting your life, then it’s helpful to talk to your doctor or therapist. Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.
Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. They may also include wanting to avoid places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event, feeling hyper aware (hypervigilance) or having an exaggerated response to things that startle you.
While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.
There are three main types of symptoms:
1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event
2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma
3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal
Having a good social support system can help protect against PSTD. Support groups are also helpful, where people have similar experiences share their feelings. Psychotherapy with a therapist can help you with dealing with the memories and feelings so that over time, the memories of the event become less frightening and therefore have less control over your life.
You can get more information about post-traumatic stress disorder from the American Psychiatric Association — www.psych.org.