All about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD)

What is PTSD? You must have heard this term many times but might not have understood it; we get you the facts associated with PTSD. PTSD is post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) usually happens when you have dealt with a traumatic event in life and this gives you a feeling of helplessness. Anybody can get into this condition. Any overwhelming life experience can cause PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect the ones who personally experience the catastrophe or those who witness it and also those who pick up pieces following it. It can also happen to the family or friends of the family who have actually experienced the trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder happens in a different way in different people. The symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur within hours or days post the event but sometimes it can take weeks, months, or even years before they occur.

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Reasons that lead to Post-traumatic stress disorder

  1. Car or plane crashes
  2. Sexual or physical abuse
  3. Rape
  4. Natural disasters
  5. Kidnapping
  6. War
  7. Terrorist attacks
  8. Childhood neglect
  9. Assault
  10. Sudden death of a loved one

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

  1. Fear of getting separated from your loved ones
  2. Issues with sleep and nightmares
  3. Loss of previously acquired skills like toilet training
  4. Issues like aches and pains
  5. Phobias as well as anxieties which may not be related to the trauma
  6. Aggression and irritability
  7. Expressing the trauma through drawings, role play, and stories

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Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder

The treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder will focus on helping the person relieve the symptoms. It will help that person to recall the trauma and process the sensations and emotions felt during the real trauma. It will focus on providing the outlet for emotions that was bottling up.

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy will involve talking with the therapist. Psychotherapy can happen on a one on one basis or in a group. Generally the time taken will be around 6 to 12 weeks but might take more time too.

There are many types of psychotherapy that can help people with PTSD. Certain therapies are targeted directly at the symptoms. Others target on social, job related or family related issues.
Main therapy is called the cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy comprises of several parts and they are:

  • Exposure therapy: This therapy will focus on achieving less fear about your memories. It will make the person deal with the trauma in a practical way. The therapist will focus on memories that are less upsetting comparatively before talking about worse ones. The therapist will include mental imagery, visiting the place of the trauma or writing as a toll to help with people with post-traumatic stress disorder to deal with their emotions.
  • Cognitive restructuring: With this therapy, the person is made to realize the bad memories. Sometimes the person concerned may not remember the event in the actual way. They may be haunted with the guilt or shame associated with the trauma. The therapist focuses on helping people with PTSD to look at the trauma with a more realistic attitude.

Stress inoculation training: During Stress inoculation training, the therapist focuses on decreasing the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. It helps the person change his or her approach towards the trauma and its memories.

Other treatments are

  • Family therapy: PSTD affects the person and the close family members therefore family therapy is very beneficial. The family members can help the person deal with the trauma by better communication.
  • Medication: Medication is also advised to people dealing with PSTD specially to deal with symptoms of depression or anxiety.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): This treatment involves elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic, left-right stimulation. For instance- hand taps or sounds. Eye movements and other bilateral forms of stimulation apparently work by “unfreezing” the brain’s information processing system, which is interrupted during extreme stress

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About the author

Divya Rechesh

Divya Rechesh is a Freelance Writer based in Mumbai currently. Outgoing, spunky and practical is what describes her the best. She hopes to experience new things everyday in life and contribute something to this world through her writing.