Do you Feel Stressed?
The shock of sudden trauma and the stresses arising from loss can make you unable to cope with life and trigger posttraumatic stress disorder. You may feel that no one can fathom the depth of your sorrow or understand the pain you’re going through. But all is not lost, you can get help. For you to deal effectively with PTSD, you should seek professional help.
What is PTSD?
You may have a deep urge to understand what PTSD is so you can help loved ones experiencing the debilitating disorder. Here’s the best PTSD definition.
PTSD is a mental health condition that affects people who have been through a life-threatening event or some form of aggravated assault or abuse. If you were sexually or physically abused as a child or you survived a disaster like an earthquake, a war, or a motor vehicle accident, you might find yourself assailed by symptoms of PTSD.
Development of PTSD
Any time you go through a traumatizing incident of whatever intensity, you react like any other human being. You feel upset and go through a period where you want to withdraw from your regular affairs to process what happened. However, if you find yourself unable to resume normal life and interactions after several months, you may be undergoing PTSD.
The possibility of developing the disorder depends on several factors such as:
- How deeply you were involved in the event
- How powerful you felt in controlling the event
- The relationship between you and the victim
- The intensity of the distress
- The duration of the ordeal
- The strength of your reaction to the trauma
- The degree of sensitivity in which you respond to experiences in life
Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
The symptoms of PTSD start immediately after the event, but you may only notice them months or years afterwards. According to the National Center for PTSD, these symptoms fall into four categories:
- Trying to avoid any situation that reminds you of the experience. You may be reluctant to talk or think about the event.
- Having flashbacks of the ordeal through painful memories or bad dreams. You feel like you are reliving the experience.
- Hyperarousal: you feel strung up, extra alert, and are always on the lookout for danger to the extent that you have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
- Change in beliefs and value system. Your perception of yourself and others changes. You may change your way of life and steer clear of activities you enjoyed before to avoid any instance that will remind you of the painful ordeal.
- You may find yourself waking up in the night feeling short of breath or having nightmares. These may or may not have to do with the actual event. You may also notice a fast heartbeat for no apparent reason.
You may also develop feelings of fear, shame, and guilt depending on how much you feel you contributed to the mishap. You may feel that you deserve the pain and the consequences.
Additional PTSD Symptoms
Other symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder include:
- Drug problems and excessive drinking
- Feeling powerless and hopeless
- Failure to attend to duties at place of work
- Psychosomatic disorders and unceasing physical pain
- Problems in personal relationships – with a spouse and family members – that leads to family disintegration
- Unexplained anger or rage
- Denial of feeling anything out of the ordinary
- Fear of taking on anything new
- Wanting to sleep a lot or sit in front of the TV with no motivation
When Is It Complex PTSD?
Although PTSD arises from emotional distress, the situation causing the trauma may be short-lived, or it may progress over an extended period of time. A serious or recurring experience such as Problems in personal relationships, sexual abuse (with or without physical abuse), and captivity such as being abducted or taken prisoner could be the trigger.
When the trauma arises from a one-off event, the result is regular PTSD. However, if the trigger is a long-lasting ordeal, it could lead to a condition known as complex PTSD. The symptoms manifest in outbursts of anger, changes in personal relationships, experience dissociation, flashbacks, preoccupation with thoughts of revenge, and feeling the urge to isolate yourself or being unable to trust others.
Who Is Most Likely to Suffer From PTSD?
If you undergo a life-threatening situation or suffer from a severe injury, you may experience the disorder. Additionally, if you went through a nasty or frightening ordeal but received no support, or the experience occurred again, or you were blamed as a cause of the experience, you may find yourself gradually drifting into the drowning ocean of Problems in personal relationships.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Chronic Pain
After Sylvia lost her husband and two-year-old daughter in a car crash, she started noticing a burning pain and constriction in her chest which seemed to aggravate over time. Upon seeing how withdrawn she had become, and how she drank a lot of alcohol, her elder brother, Donovan, encouraged her to seek help from a psychotherapist. The doctor told her she was experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder and put her on medication. After a few sessions, she started getting better.
Research shows that over 30% of patients with PTSD complain of chronic pain. Causes of this pain include:
- Injuries arising from the traumatic event
- Muscle tension and muscular pain due to hyperarousal
- Disability due to failure to take part in physical activity and exercises because of depression
Treatment Methods for PTSD
When you finally decide to seek medical treatment for the anxiety disorder, the following therapies could be a source of solace and recovery:
- Treatment for substance abuse
- Acceptance and commitment therapy which encourages you to confront the pain instead of avoiding it
- Exposure therapy, where a therapist exposes you to the thoughts or simulated situations similar to the traumatizing event
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which reviews inappropriate responses to trauma such as hostility towards others, substance, and alcohol abuse, and inflicting pain on oneself
Coping With PTSD
If you discover that you are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, do not be afraid to seek help. You will need plenty of support to adjust to normal life. Other than support from your family and friends, you should seek medical help to overcome this severe mental health condition.
If you feel suicidal or your PTSD symptoms progress over a month, you should seek help. You should consider consulting a psychologist, a close friend, a spiritual leader, or a loved one. Ideally, seek an expert in this field as it can sometimes be quite debilitating. You can recover from this if you have desire, commitment and professional support.
Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.