post-traumatic stress disorder or what we call it “PTSD” is one of the mental disorder that actually many people around the world suffer from on daily basis
post-traumatic stress disorder or what we call it “PTSD” is one of the mental disorder that actually many people around the world suffer from on daily basis , because of it many people cannot live their lives to the fullest. To think that one traumatizing event can change your life is just hard to think about.
Ignorance is the one thing in human nature that can lead to the progression of ones PTSD condition, we humans tend to ignore stress and deceive ourselves in the hope that if we ignore what’s wrong we can forget it and eventually just live our life. We always convince ourselves that we don’t need to see a therapist or a “shrink” because it won’t make a difference or just because we are scared to be perceived as crazy by others, the truth is we are damaging ourselves even more. Knowing the symptoms and seeking helps is very important.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
PTSD what is it really? Is it a true illness? Many people believe that PTSD is not real and that it is a “made up” disorder but the ugly truth is that it is an actual existing mental illness and a devastating one that can ruin the lives of many and their families.
According to doctors “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event”. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017)
It is simply one of the anxiety disorders that happens in people all around the world following a tragic traumatizing event (murder, rape, accident, war, natural disaster, death of loved ones, etc…) That was experienced by an individual which causes horrifying memories related to the trauma that could be presented as nightmares or even as flashbacks that makes the person relive the same trauma over and over again after it happened.
PTSD has been identified by other names prior to what it is called now , it was known as “shell shock” in the times of World War I and as “combat fatigue” shortly after World War II. The fact that the naming was around war time and that many war veterans suffered from it beaus of the war cruelty doesn’t mean that only combat veterans suffer from it.
PTSD can happen in people of any gender, ethnicity, culture or age and any nationality. It is estimated that 1 in 11 may experience PTSD in their life. Individuals that continue to struggle with PTSD might experience intense, distressing thoughts and feelings associated to the experience after the traumatic event has ended. They keep feeling deep sorrow and they tend to avoid situations or people that could remind them of the event. It’s hard to have to live with such illness. (Ranna Parekh, 2017)
Why and how does it happen?
Causes of posttraumatic stress disorder can vary in people. The ultimate scientific reason is uncertain but mainly it is because of many factors such as stress, traumatic life experiences, different personalities, and genetics. That can result in PTSD in some people when the rest do not get it.
The Explanations on what causes PTSD mainly focuses on the way in which a traumatic experience affects the mind. One of the speculation on what actually happens is that, when an individual is facing a crushing overwhelming trauma, the human mind is incapable to process all the information and feelings in a healthy normal way. It is as if the human mind freezes during the time of the traumatic event as well as the feelings and thoughts related to it and later when time starts passing by, all the feelings comes back causing distress.
By studying the brain, its structure and chemicals we are a step closer on understanding how the mind and brain play a very important factor in the development of PTSD. Conducted brain imaging studies over the past years emphasis on two significant brain structures: the hippocampus and amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for how we perceive fear and learn about it and it was found that in people with PTSD it is hyperactive. The hippocampus is involved mainly in memory formation and it is found that there is loss of volume in this structure in people with PTSD, which could be the reason for some of the memory deficits associated with PTSD. Neurochemicals can be involved in PTSD. For example, the hormonal system hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis tends to be disrupted in people with PTSD. This hormonal system is part of the normal stress reactions. It is thought that the dysfunction of the system leads to a hippocampal damage in individuals that suffer from PTSD. (Harold Cohen, 2018)
The way everyone response to stress and the way they tolerate it is different from one person to the other and that applies to PTSD development in every person. Some people are more likely to develop PTSD symptoms in hours or days after a traumatic event, it may take weeks, months, or years before it appears. Symptoms may appear out of the blue at sometimes. Or they could be triggered by a person or a similar situation(noise, image, words, or smell) that reminds them of the traumatic event. (Melinda Smith, M.A., , Lawrence Robinson, ; Jeanne Segal, Ph.D, 2018).
There are four main types of PTSD symptoms:
1. Reliving the event: the traumatic Memories of the day may be back. And the same horrifying and scary feelings that were felt on the day of the event, it can be relived through flashbacks, nightmares or by a trigger(smell, seeing fire, news report or a sound) (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2015)