HOW A TRAUMATIC EVENT HAUNTS YOUR BRAIN-POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: SUNDAY MIRROR

Physical trauma has several effects on our brain and mind.Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition that can occur after you’ve experienced a traumatic event. It was first recognised as shell shock during World War I, when soldiers were returning home with anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts and memories. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, events that may lead to PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat, and various forms of other violence. Children may also suffer from PTSD after traumatic event in life.

How many people suffer from PTSD?

Approximately seven or eight of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Women are more likely to experience PTSD—approximately 10 out of every 100 women compared to four out of 100 men. It is pretty common both in eastern and western world.

What happens in PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD generally begin within the first three months after the inciting traumatic event, but may not begin until years later. In the typical case, the individual with PTSD persistently avoids either trauma-related thoughts and emotions or discussion of the traumatic event, and may even forget the event.People with PTSD may rehash and still be frightened by these past events, fight against sleeplessness, be dehydrated and/or numb, feel nauseous, and can easily be startled. They can also experience uncontrollable shaking, chills or palpitations, and headaches. They feel devastated.

Why PTSD happens?

Main risk factors of PTSD are emotional and physical trauma. The risk of developing PTSD after a traumatic event varies by trauma type and is highest following exposure to sexual violence (11.4%), particularly rape (19.0%).Motor vehicle collision survivors, both children and adults, are at an increased risk of PTSD.Similar to the adult population, risk factors for PTSD in children include: female gender, exposure to disasters (natural or manmade), negative coping behaviours, and/or lacking proper social support systems.Medical conditions associated with an increased risk of PTSD include cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

Many people suffering from PTSD develop major depression, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders, substance use disorder such as alcohol and illicit drugs, commonly co-occur with PTSD. Recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorders may be hindered, or the condition worsened when these conditions are associated with PTSD. Resolving these problems can bring about improvement in an individual’s mental health status and anxiety levels. In children and adolescents, there is a strong association between emotional regulation difficulties like mood swings, anger outbursts etc.

How to counter it?

Lifestyle modification, mindfulness meditation, good sleep, journal writing, exercise can help in countering mild symptoms. But for moderate to severe disease patients need good counseling. As it’s a very common disease it’s evident that many people will suffer from it. If someone is feeling unknown stress after a truma or any issue they should consult a psychiatrist and undergo good treatment and counseling.

Awareness is the key to fight PTSD.

Reference

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK. Post-traumatic stress disorder: The management of PTSD in adults and children in primary and secondary care.

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