Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, means that a person has excessive fear, depression and inability to function normally after witnessing or experiencing intense fear or helplessness.  While most commonly associated with veterans of combat or captivity, PTSD can also occur after: 


• being forced to be in a painful experience such as constant marital conflict, serving under an abusive boss or teacher, living with people who constantly berate and bully you


• experiencing sudden death of a loved one


• being forced into an unwanted change of finances, home, job, or other regular routine


• being in or seeing a traumatic event such as a horrible accident, hostage situation, rape, assault, torture, natural disaster such as a tornado or earthquake, or a terrorist attack 
 
Memory Symptoms:


• Recurrent, unwanted, distressing memories of the traumatic event


• Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again


• Dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event


• Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to reminders of the event
 
Emotional Symptoms:


• Negative feelings about yourself or other people


• Depression


• Inability to experience positive emotions


• Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed


• Hopelessness about the future


• Difficulty maintaining close relationships


• Changes in emotional reactions


• Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
 
Behavioral Symptoms:


• Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior


• Always being on guard for danger


• Overwhelming guilt


• Self-destructive behavior such as drinking too much or driving too fast


• Alcohol or drug abuse


• Difficulty concentrating


• Difficulty sleeping


• Being easily startled or frightened


• Avoiding thoughts, people, places, and activities  associated with the event


• Decreased participation in previous activities

Physical Symptoms:


• Headache


• Fatigue


• Sexual dysfunction


• Hallucinations


• Suicide or attempted suicide
 
Treatments for PTSD
Although talking through the event, drugs and psychological counseling can help to control the symptoms of the disorder, there is no known cure.  Symptoms may lessen with time, but severe trauma leaves scars forever.   It is a very serious problem that can even be transmitted to children of people with PTSD.   More on PTSD

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