Sunday, 12 June 2011

PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The other day I was watching the TV series called Pacific.  It talks about WWII, it is interesting but one of the most interesting parts about it is it gets into how the war effected people.   Many of the men in the war developed symptoms of PTSD, though they did not totally understand what was happening.  There was a sad moment in the show when one of the men was having nightmares and in order to shut him up so the Japanese wouldn't hear them , they ended up knocking him out with a rock which in turn killed him. I found that a really sad part, because they didn't understand what was going on. Now a days they have medications that can help people with their PTSD nightmares and they have a better understanding what is going on. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen to other people not just people in war, and not everyone who has experienced a trauma develops PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

"PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms:
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months."

Taken from :

" To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least three avoidance symptoms
  • At least two hyperarousal symptoms
  • Symptoms that make it hard to go about daily life, go to school or work, be with friends, and take care of important tasks."
Taken from:

Being aware of this can be helpful as if one knows information it is easier to understand  what the person is going through.  There is data now that helps people with this to cope with the symptoms including grounding oneself so that the person can stay in the present and not be caught in the past. Medication can help to with flashbacks and nightmares.  Psychology has come a long way since  WWII and has made it easier for people to get the help that they need.

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