PTSD can develop after a critical incident or stressor .Also among witnesses to a critical incident. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death. Although there are numerous situations that can cause PTSD to develop the cause is unknown. There is a wide range of factors including psychological , genetic , physical and social . With PTSD the bodies response to stress is altered . It affects the stress hormones and chemical that carry messages between the nerves. PTSD can affect anyone although it is widely believed that having a traumatic event in your history can increase the risk .
In PTSD, symptoms are present for at least 30 days.
At risk groups for PTSD
Emergency services personal
Survivors of road traffic accidents
Survivors or rape, sexual abuse etc
Those diagnosed with a serious or life threatening illness
Been taken hostage
Serving troops who experience violence
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
Reoccurring or obtrusive thoughts about the incident
Avoiding reminders of the incident –
Inability to relax or sleep
Emotional Numbness and Isolation from others
Loss of interest in activities that where once seen as enjoyable
Only seeing the negative
Irritability , tension
Physical signs and symptoms
Aches and pains
Feeling of panic
Excessive use of alcohol or other drugs
There are three distinct categories to PTSD symptoms
Relieving the event to an extent that it disturbs regular day to day activity.
- Upsetting memories , flashbacks , nightmares and strong uncomfortable reminders
Avoidance – Been emotionally numb or feeling of not caring, feeling detached, been unable to remember important parts of the traumatic event , having a lack of interest in activities that where once pleasurable , hiding moods , avoiding places and things , feeling a sense of lack of future .
Arousal – There can be difficulty concentrating, been startled easily, been hyper vigilant , feeling irritable or anger , having sleep difficulty or insomnia
Guilt is another emotion that can be experienced in particular in the event of a death (survivors guilt)
Symptoms of survivors guilt are anxiety, stress , tension , agitation or excitability , dizziness , fainting , feeling of palpitations , headaches ,
Treatment of PTSD
Trying to get back into the usual routine
Talk with someone you trust
Healthy diet and activity
Spend time with family and friends
Returning to the site of the incident
Be gentle on yourself
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing ( EMDR)
PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal reaction.