Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many people experience a traumatic event in life such as a road traffic collision; the death of a person; or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

Most of us are able to readjust without experiencing long-term problems, but others might develop a type of anxiety disorder called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can occur immediately following the traumatic incident or someone can develop it weeks, months, or years afterwards.

Diagnosing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following symptoms for at least one month:

  • One instance of re-experiencing the trauma through a bad dream, overwhelming scary thoughts, or a flashback
  • One instance of avoiding places, events, or things that remind the person of the traumatic experience
  • Two instances of being triggered and reacting to reminders of the trauma – being easily startled and having angry outbursts
  • Two instances of cognition and mood symptoms – such as forgetting important moments of the traumatic event, guilt, or not wanting to do anything enjoyable
  • Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse

The symptoms must also be severe enough to interfere with relationships or debilitate important areas of functioning — social, occupational, academic, and/or other.

Treatments and Therapies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

  • Talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy
  • And/or antidepressant medication such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • EMDR – Another relatively new therapy for the treatment of PTSD is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). As the name suggests, EMDR involves moving your eyes from side-to-side while recounting the traumatic experience. How EMDR works is unknown; however, this form of therapy has been reported to be highly effective in the treatment of PTSD.

Diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following symptoms for at least one month:

  • One instance of re-experiencing the trauma through a bad dream, overwhelming scary thoughts, or a flashback
  • One instance of avoiding places, events, or things that remind the person of the traumatic experience
  • Two instances of being triggered and reacting to reminders of the trauma – being easily startled and having angry outbursts
  • Two instances of cognition and mood symptoms – such as forgetting important moments of the traumatic event, guilt, or not wanting to do anything enjoyable
  • Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse

The symptoms must also be severe enough to interfere with relationships or debilitate important areas of functioning — social, occupational, academic, and/or other.

Treatments and Therapies for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

  • Talking therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy
  • And/or antidepressant medication such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
  • EMDR – Another relatively new therapy for the treatment of PTSD is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). As the name suggests, EMDR involves moving your eyes from side-to-side while recounting the traumatic experience. How EMDR works is unknown; however, this form of therapy has been reported to be highly effective in the treatment of PTSD.
Source NIMH