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Understanding PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)


When people come across a threatening, very upsetting or deeply hurtful experience that leaves them feeling hopeless or helpless triggers the fight or flight response - you nervous system's reaction when you are faced with danger. When this happens, your nervous system usually recovers in a couple of days or weeks, however, in the event that it does not, an individual may be suffering from PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder. Although this can be quite disabling and painful, this stress response can be quite amendable to change. There are various ways to alleviate PTSD symptoms and take back control of your life.


What is PTSD?

PTSD can affect anybody. This disorder is usually associated with rape and war-scared soldiers, with combat as the leading cause in men. However, any event that overwhelms an individual too much with the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness can trigger PTSD, especially when the event is uncontrollable and unpredictable. Basically it can happen when there is an event that threatens one's safety.


PTSD can affect anyone that has had a personal encounter with a life threatening event - this can be someone that has witnessed the event, affected in the event or someone that has picked up the pieces in the aftermath of an event like emergency respondents. For children, PTSD is also possible and can result from surgery that was performed on them. Check out http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ptsd for more details about PTSD.


Some traumatic events that can cause c PTSD are the following:

-              Natural Disasters

-              War

-              Plane or Car Crashes

-              Terrorist Attacks

-              Kidnapping

-              Rape

-              Sexual or Physical Abuse

-              Assault


What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Everyone is different, that means symptoms can vary from one person to another since individuals' nervous system and tolerance for stress vary accordingly. While the onset of PTSD treatment can happen hours or days following a traumatic incident, it is not uncommon to see people exhibiting the symptoms weeks, months or even years after the incident. However, there are three main symptoms of PTSD:


Re-experiencing the event - Individuals may appear distraught because of sudden onset of memories, nightmares or flashbacks of the said traumatic event. Physical symptoms can also be seen like sweating, increase in heart rate and/or nausea.

Avoiding Reminders of the Event - They may try to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. Hence, they become detached from other people and appear emotionally numb in these activities and everyday life in general.


Increased anxiety - This may cause trouble sleeping, emotional outbursts, difficulty concentrating, easily startled or hypervigilance and paranoia.


If you suffer from these symptoms or know of someone who does and may have been affected by a traumatic event in the past, it is best to consult a doctor for further management. However, it is not something that should put your down completely as it can be managed with the right help and support.