Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an incapacitating anxiety disorder that takes place after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic incident that involves either a real or supposed threat of injury or death. This can include a natural tragedy, military combat, an assault, physical or sexual abuse, or other trauma. Once called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue,” PTSD has recently received more public attention because of the high number of war veterans who have the disorder.
For those that suffer from PTSD they have a heightened sense of danger. “Their natural “fight or flight response” is damaged, causing them to feel stressed or fearful even in safe situations. ”(According to Healthline.com) PTSD occurs as a response to a chemical change in the brain and is not the result of a character flaw or feebleness. It develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. Symptoms of PTSD can disrupt normal activities and interfere with your ability to function. They can be triggered by words, sounds, or situations that act as remainders of trauma. Symptoms fall into three groups. The first one is reliving, which consists of flashbacks, intrusive, vivid memories of the event, frequent nightmares, and mental or physical discomfort when reminded of the event. The second group is avoidance which includes emotional lethargy, detachment from or lack of interest in daily activities, amnesia (memory loss) about the event, inability to express feelings, and avoidance of people or situations that are reminders of the event. The last group is increased arousal which is characterized by being started easily, difficulty concentrating, a constant feeling of being on guard, difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Often people with PTSD may be afflicted by remorse, anxiety, and downheartedness. They are also susceptible to panic attacks, which can cause headache, lightheadedness or fainting, dizziness, a racing or pounding heart, and agitation or excitability.
Unfortunately, there is no specific test to diagnose PTSD. Often this condition is difficult to diagnose because sufferers are generally reluctant to recall the precipitating trauma or discuss their symptoms. A mental health specialist is the best qualified to diagnose PTSD. In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have experienced all three stages. At least one reliving symptom, at least two increased arousal symptoms, and at least three of the avoidance symptoms. The symptoms must be serious enough to interfere with your daily activities, making it difficult to go to work or school and to be around friends and family members.
Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is some evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families.(According to NIMH) Age is not a factor and anyone can get PTSD at any age including children. Not everyone that has PTSD has been through a terrible event. Some people get PTSD after friends or family members have experienced danger or harm. Something as common as an unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.
“Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the incident but…