Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Accidents, violent personal assaults, natural or human-engendered disasters, and military combat are among the traumatic ordeals that may trigger PTSD.

The symptoms normally exhibited by people with PSTD can be grouped into three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms. The first group includes flashbacks and bad dreams. Whether these are kicked off from the person’s own thoughts or are triggered by outside words, signs or situations, re-experiencing symptoms always disrupt a sufferer’s everyday routine. In this they resemble avoidance symptoms, the second category of symptoms of PTSD. Feelings of emotional numbness or of strong guilt, depression or worry are often reported by others with PTSD, as are losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable, staying away from things that are reminders of the experience, and having trouble remembering the dangerous event. Hyper-arousal symptoms, the final grouping, often manifest as feelings of tenseness, difficulty sleeping, and becoming easily startled or given to sudden angry outbursts. Unlike the other two types of PTSD symptoms, hyper-arousal ones are usually constant.

However it surfaces, PTSD is a serious medical condition, and one that requires professional medical attention. In the last decade researchers have learned a lot about the disorder and psychiatrists are getting better not only at diagnosing the disorder but also at treating it, often with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. If you or a love one exhibits any of the signs described above, please call my office today to set up an appointment.