By: Michelle Dierna
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that follows experiencing or witnessing an extremely traumatic, life threatening event. Examples include; kidnapping, serious car accidents, natural disasters, violent attacks such as a mugging, rape, torture, being held captive, terrorist attacks, sudden death of a loved one, childhood neglect and sexual or physical abuse. People with PTSD usually have persistent startling thoughts and memories of the event that occurred then become emotionally withdrawn, especially with people they were once close to. PSTD was first seen in war veterans; however, it is not just a result of war. It can occur after any traumatic incident. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in those who personally experience a disaster, witness it, or those who pick up the pieces later, including emergency workers and law enforcement officers. Certain events can lead to” trigger” thoughts that are linked to something that threatened the person’s life or the life of someone close to him or her. Alternatively, it could be something observed, such as mass ruin after a car crash that can set off these” psychological triggers”. Most people associate PTSD with soldiers who have witnessed the death of friends (other soldiers) bombings and military combat while battling against the enemy. However, any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, a disease which makes life very hard for the person suffering and their loved ones.
Thus, if you feel you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and are constantly re-living the trauma through troubling memories during the day or nightmares that wake you up, it is important to get help. Usually, there is no way to tell whether a person suffering from PSTD will continue to experience these nightmares and reoccurring thoughts or whether the symptoms will eventually go away. The severity of the trauma and the sensitivity of the situation can influence the severity of the symptoms.
- People diagnosed with PTSD usually have similar symptoms such as: sleeping difficulties, depression, feeling isolated or numb, and being easily startled /Paranoia. Some other behaviors that are noted in PTSD patients are loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, and having trouble feeling affectionate, warm and loving, instead, feeling short-tempered, more hostile and aggressive than before; or even violent. Seeing things that remind them of a particular incident that may be very distressing, which could lead to avoidance of certain places or situations that bring back frightening memories. As with any tragic event, the date of the incident is usually significant. Thus, anniversaries of the incident are usually very hard for someone suffering from PTSD.
PTSD manifests differently from person to person. While the symptoms of PTSD most commonly develop in the hours or days following the traumatic event, sometimes PTSD symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years to appear. Post-traumatic stress disorder can leave many feeling helpless confused and very depressed. It can cause strong behavioral changes that can disrupt your present life and the life you were nurturing before the incident occurred. Symptoms of PTSD can slowly start to control your present life strongly in a negative way if you don’t develop proper ways to cope.
If you or a loved one or one is experiencing any type of Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms, it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for your symptoms. If you are in Bergen County, New Jersey area or Manhattan, feel free to call our office to make an appointment with one of our own therapists, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920
More detailed information can be found at http://www.acenterfortherapy.com
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”: Symptoms, Treatment and Self-Help. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May2014.helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.html.