Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs in some people after being exposed to a dangerous event. People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder feel tension and fear even when they are no longer in danger. Any person can contract post-traumatic stress disorder at any time in their life. People at risk of post-traumatic stress include: war veterans, survivors of physical or sexual assault, abuse, accidents, natural disasters and many other serious events. A person does not have to survive a dangerous event to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Some people contract this disorder after a friend or family member faces danger or is injured. Also, the sudden unexpected death of a loved one can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. Diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder Diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder indicate that a person has been exposed to a traumatic event that refers to a person experiencing, attending, or facing an event or events that presented a real or potential death or serious injury or threatened personal or someone else's bodily integrity. In response to a traumatic situation, intense fear, a sense of helplessness or horror occurred. Symptoms of PTSD Symptoms and a fully developed clinical picture of post-traumatic stress disorder can appear immediately after a stress event, shortly after, or after many years. Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause a number of symptoms that are grouped into three categories:
Symptoms of trauma survival:
1. feedback, intrusive and unpleasant memories of the event, including performances, thoughts and observations;
2. recurring disturbing dreams of the event;
3. behaving or experiencing as if the traumatic event were re-occurring (through the feeling of reliving the trauma, illusion, hallucination, images from the past);
4. intense discomfort when exposed to internal or external stimuli that symbolize or resemble a traumatic event;
5. physiological reactivity when exposed to internal or external stimuli resembling a traumatic event.
Trauma Avoidance Symptoms and General Dumbness Symptoms:
1. efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations regarding trauma;
2. efforts to avoid trauma-like activities, places, or persons;
3. difficulties in remembering a dangerous event;
4. loss of interest in activities that were previously the subject of interest;
5. experiencing separation or alienation from other people;
6. narrowed range of feelings;
7. experience without perspective. Things that remind a person of a traumatic event can trigger symptoms of avoidance and cause the person to change their routine. For example, after a serious car accident, a person who otherwise drives a car may start to avoid it.
Symptoms of over-arousal:
1. difficulty sleeping;
2. irritability or outbursts of anger;
3. difficulty concentrating;
4. the focus is on the potential sources of danger;
5.an over-pronounced twitch reaction. Symptoms of over-arousal are usually constant and not just triggered by things that are reminiscent of a traumatic event. A person may feel angry and stressed as these symptoms make it difficult to carry out daily tasks as well as sleep, diet or concentration.
The diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is made by a doctor who has experience in helping people with mental illness, that is, a psychiatrist and psychologist. To be diagnosed, a patient must have symptoms for at least one month.
These symptoms are:
1. at least one symptom of recurrence;
2. at least three symptoms of avoidance;
3. at least two symptoms of over-arousal;
4. symptoms that make it difficult for a person to live daily life, going to school or work, hanging out with friends or performing important tasks.
Treatment of PTSD The main treatment treatment for people with post-traumatic stress disorder involves psychotherapy, medication therapy, or both. Each person is different and therefore treatment methods that are effective for one may not be effective for another. In order to successfully deal with stressful situations, it is necessary in peacetime to build an effective program of preventive measures for mental health care that will influence the immediate strengthening of the defense forces of the individual. The individual and the group should be trained to successfully overcome fear in stressful situations that always bring psychic crises and traumas. In order to be able to do so, one must know the psychological principles of fear and how it can be overcome. Knowledge of the factors that have a detrimental effect on the development and mental health of children and young people is very important in order to apply educational and mental and hygiene measures in a timely manner in the prevention of mental disorders.
Psychotherapy means treating the psyche, or treating it with psychological impact. However, it is more than healing because it involves learning, upbringing, changing and maturing of a person, while at the same time in addition to the intrapsychic procedure, the interpersonal aspect. Psychotherapy is the systematic use of the relationship between psychotherapists and patients in order to produce psychiatric changes in the patient (client). The goals of psychotherapy are treatment (elimination of symptoms and problems, better functioning), development (the patient goes beyond the stall in psychosocial development) and prevention (to strengthen the patient for future experiences). People with post-traumatic stress disorder can be helped by various forms of psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral orientation psychotherapist uses some of the techniques such as:
This technique helps people cope with and control the source of their fear. A person with PTSD is exposed to the trauma they endured in a protected therapeutic setting. They use the methods of imagining, writing or visiting the places where the event took place.
This technique helps patients to cope with bad memories. Sometimes, people remember a particular event differently from how it actually happened. They may feel guilty or ashamed of something that has not happened to their fault. Therapists help people with post-traumatic stress disorder remember what happened in a realistic way. Stress inoculation training. This technique aims to reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder by teaching patients how to reduce anxiety. Like cognitive restructuring, this form of treatment helps patients remember surviving events in a healthy way. Some of the relaxation techniques such as e.g. progressive muscle relaxation.
Medication therapy can facilitate the successful passage of psychotherapy and, as the case may be, include antidepressants or anxiolytics that can control symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as sadness, worry, and indifference.
AUTHOR: IRENA WERNER, psychologist and psychotherapist
PTSD # Post-traumatic Stress Disorder # Exposure # Stress Inoculation # Psychotherapy #Cognitive Restructuring