Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We all know it’s possible and today unfortunate incidents happen with more and more regularity. Some examples of traumatic events include:

  • Violent personal assaults
  • Natural or human-caused disasters
  • Accidents
  • Military combat

These incidents become traumatic when they create or threaten physical harm to an individual. Most people who experience trauma go through a brief period of reduced coping and difficulty adjusting. After this period their reactions to the event get better and they are able to move on with their lives. In cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however, the symptoms of associated anxiety have been known to last for months or years. These symptoms severely disrupt an individual’s life.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Occur In 3 Different Categories

Intrusive Memories:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event that reoccur for minutes or days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the ordeal
  • Reliving the incident through similar sights or sounds

Avoidance or Becoming Emotionally Numb:

  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness about the future
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic incident
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Anxiety or Increased Emotional Arousal:

  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there

Causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A number of factors can contribute to a person’s likelihood to develop this condition. While there is no well-defined combination, some of these factors may include:

  • An inherited predisposition to anxiety or depression
  • The amount and severity of trauma a person has experienced since early childhood
  • A person’s temperament
  • The way your brain regulates the hormones and chemicals in your body in response to stress

Seeking Treatment For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you experience the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder it’s important to seek help immediately. People who suffer from this condition will generally receive a combination of psychotherapy, medication, or both. The ultimate goal is to teach victims how to cope with their symptoms and to understand that this disorder develops due to extraordinary stress, not from a weakness on their part.

For more information about treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, call Dr. Hege today.