Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Knowing the signs of PTSD and finding effective, evidence-based treatments early are important for managing this disorder.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is caused by a traumatic event and can cause flashbacks, nightmares, physical sensations like heart palpitations, numbness and dissociation from emotions. It often leads to intense feelings of guilt and shame, heightened emotional reactions, lack of concentration and low self-esteem. People with PTSD can experience difficulty functioning in the world, leading to social isolation and impaired relationships.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms, with the most common being intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares; avoidance behaviors such as refusing to talk about the trauma; negative thoughts or feelings related to the experience, such as guilt and shame; difficulty sleeping; increased irritability; hyper-vigilance and an exaggerated startle response. Other symptoms may include depression, fearfulness, reckless behavior, isolation from loved ones, refusal to leave home, mistrust of others and suicidal thoughts or ideation.
Treatment for PTSD is typically tailored to the individual and their unique symptoms. Options include trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), medication management, exposure therapies, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
In general, the goal is to identify triggers and create coping strategies, bolster support systems, provide valuable life skills and manage medications. It is important to remember that recovery from PTSD takes time, but with proper professional help it can be improved and even eliminated.
Outcomes from Treatment for PTSD
Treatment for PTSD can be successful and lead to numerous positive outcomes for those suffering from the disorder. Many people experience improved mental health, reduced suicidal thoughts and behaviors, an improved sense of control over their lives, strengthened relationships with family and friends, improved cognitive functioning, improved ability to manage stressful situations and triggers, improved physical well-being, decreased feelings of depression and anxiety, better coping skills in difficult times.
Managing the Effects of PTSD on Your Life and Relationships
PTSD can have wide-ranging effects on daily life and relationships, but the following strategies are beneficial for managing those effects. Counseling can help a person learn how to manage the symptoms of PTSD and develop better coping skills. Participating in activities that provide support, distraction, and relaxation can also be helpful in addressing the effects of PTSD.
Additionally, developing good communication skills with close family members or friends is an important part of managing the disorder since it can help one better express their feelings, needs, and concerns. Finally, establishing healthy lifestyle habits like getting proper rest, exercising regularly, and eating nourishing foods will all contribute to improved mental health.