Saturday, April 17, 2010

Be Aware of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Tip #4
Watch for signs of PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that affects a significant number of people for a variety of reasons. It is probably best known as a disorder of people in the military who have experienced combat. Women are more likely to suffer from PTSD than men. But what some people don’t know is that it is a disorder that can affect a variety of people who have witnessed or been a victim of some traumatic event. This includes losing a child.

Some of the features of this disorder are:
1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: in young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
2. Recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: in children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content
3. Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: in children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
4. Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
5. Physiologic reactivity upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event

Having these feelings may result in any of the following:

1. Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
3. Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
4. Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
5. Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
6. Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
7. Sense of foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)

And finally people who suffer from PTSD will have some of the following:

1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep
2. Irritability or outbursts of anger
3. Difficulty concentrating
4. Hyper-vigilance
5. Exaggerated startle response

If any of this sounds like you or a loved one, they may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Please find a therapist in your area who specializes in treating this disorder. Here’s the good news. PTSD is very treatable! Most people will overcome the disorder on their own in about five years. With treatment most people overcome PTSD in three years or less. Hence my previous post about not abandoning your relationships.

As always, if you are having thoughts of hurting yourself in any way seek professional help immediately.

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