Did you know that more than two-thirds of the population are likely to experience traumatic events in their lifespan? Traumatic events or disasters can result in a wide range of physical and mental health consequences. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is a severe and potentially weakening condition that can happen to those who have experienced depressing, painful or life-threatening injuries.
It is not unusual for people facing traumatic stress to experience flashbacks, nightmares or even intrusive memories of something bad that has happened or happening. While some people recover from this, those who have PTSD continue to be severely depressed or anxious for a long period, even for years following the event.
Most Evident Causes Of PTSD
Post Traumatic stress disorder can develop after a frightening and distressing event and can continue for a prolonged period. Here are a few events that can cause PTSD:
- Violent personal or sexual assault, such as rape, mugging or robbery.
- Serious and frightening road accidents and injuries.
- Unexpected death or a severe injury experienced by a loved one or a close family member.
- Sexual abuse for a prolonged period, sexual violence.
- Natural disasters or damage caused by natural calamities like floods and earthquakes.
- Terrorist attacks, being held hostage, serious life-threats.
Why Does It Develop And Who Is At Risk?
There is no clear evidence or studies that show why people develop PTSD. Mostly those who lack the support or love of family or dear ones during a tragedy or are left alone depressed and anxious develop PTSD after or during a traumatic event. When it comes down to why it develops, here are a few possible reasons:
- Survival Instinct
PTSD develops due to the feeling of being “on edge” or constantly experiencing flashbacks from the event that forces you to think about it. The instinctive mechanism responses are intended to help you survive; but, in reality, they stop you from processing or moving on from the traumatic experience.
- Elevated Adrenaline Levels
Studies show that those with PTSD have very high levels of stress hormones, due to which their body produces an adrenaline rush to trigger a reaction in the body. This response is often related to the “fight or flight” mode. When the senses are shut down, you are numbed with emotions and hyperarousal, as some people with PTSD experience.
- A Malfunction In The Brain
Why people face PTSD is also related to the brain, or instead to the part responsible for memory and emotions in the brain – the hippocampus. When the hippocampus is smaller in size or malfunctions, it can cause anxiety, fear, and memory flashes due to improper processing of the traumatic experience.
Symptoms Of PTSD
For most people, symptoms begin right away after the trauma happens. But, for some, they start to kick in slowly with time. Here are some signs to look out for to determine if you have Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome.
- Being Alert All The Time: Post a trauma, you tend to get easily startled or irritated or anxious about staying safe. So much so that you find it difficult to get peaceful sleep or are unable to concentrate on work. This, in turn, results in you being on guard all the time. It can also cause reactions like constipation, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate or muscle tension.
- Can’t Stop Thinking About The Trauma: Another signal that indicates PTSD is that your mind is always thinking about the incident even if you try to avoid it. You keep having nightmares and flashbacks about it. Every time it comes to mind, you experience an emotional breakdown, and you start depending on alcohol or drugs to cope with the emotional pain.
- Physical Symptoms: Apart from your mind, even your body starts reacting to the trauma. You begin experiencing chronic pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and a burning sensation in the chest. From muscle cramps to feeling stiff, everything is connected to symptoms of PTSD. It even causes a sense of fear and results in panic attacks.
- Avoiding Anything That Triggers Memory Of The Event: You condition your mind to avoid anything that makes you think about the trauma. You even stop talking about it and keep yourself away from the premises where the event took place. You also disconnect from people related to it as you start feeling emotionally numb.
- Depression And Suicidal Tendencies: In the worst case scenario, as a victim of trauma, you surround yourself with sadness. The feelings of guilt and hopelessness can lead to thoughts about taking one’s own life.
Trauma That Arises From Natural Disasters
This is particularly insidious as this kind of PTSD can tend to traumatize a large number of people at once. Natural disasters can be sudden and overwhelming. The initial and most typical reaction to a calamity is shock, which is then taken over by numbness and denial. This shock can make its way to an overly emotional state during and after the trauma where the victim faces high levels of anxiety and depression.
Natural disasters can specifically give the victim a feeling of being betrayed, and he/she may lose faith. They are the people who have experienced the worst causes of all that lead to PTSD – the loss of a loved one, loss of property, personal exploitation, and a life-threatening situation. Post the trauma, they are made to live in camps and shelters among other survivors, with whom they can reconnect and talk about the event. In the process, they can help each other reduce the pain and start the healing process.
Ways To Heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Even though it might feel like the end of the world for the person who has PTSD, there are ways in which you can help reduce their pain and teach them to start healing. Even though it may have been quite a painful experience, these tips can help a person suffering from PTSD get better.
- Medical Help: Getting help from a mental health professional can potentially benefit if there is a risk of any significant medical conditions. He/she can lower anxiety and depression with antidepressants and medications that can help one to sleep.
- Support Groups: If medicine is of no help, then this form of therapy definitely will. Joining support groups can be a major step on their path to recovery. When one shares and listens to others, it can help resolve his/her own feelings and coping with the memories.
- Self Care: In cases like these, self-care is mandatory to recover and get back to one’s healthier and happier self. Here are a few ways in which one can feel better and get over PTSD:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Reconnect with your dear ones, friends, and family.
- Refrain from turning to drugs or alcohol.
- Keep a journal and write down your thoughts.
Helping others: One more way in which one can reduce the pain caused by trauma is by volunteering. When you help someone else, it takes your mind off your own problems. In the process, you improve your sense of purpose and achievement.
So, here is everything you need to know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most of the times it is not in your control, but what you can control is how you let it affect you and whether you are willing to help yourself feel better. If not, seek help and cope with the challenges you are having; otherwise, it will be impossible to get over PTSD.
Author Bio :
Nisha is passionate about writing and loves to share her thoughts with the world. She has written many articles on yoga, fitness, wellness, remedies, and beauty. She keeps herself updated by going through interesting blogs every day. This fuels her passion and motivates her to write appealing and engaging articles. She is a regular contributor to StyleCraze.com and a few other websites.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice.