What you should know about PTSD

We’ve all heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, right? Not the ideal subject to talk about, but the more we know about it, the more equipped we are to handle it. 

So in today’s article, we’ll share everything we know about PTSD. 

Who hasn’t had stressful or painful experiences, one way or another, throughout their lives? Most likely, we all had, right? But you must know there’s a difference between events that are temporarily painful and traumatic and others that remain for a longer period of time.

There are times when these experiences are more than stressful and can even become potentially harmful to our physical and mental health. Therefore, the emotional response a person feels to a harmful event that has a long-lasting effect is usually defined as trauma. 

People face a trauma from many sources, including, but not limited to, abuse, war, crime, natural disaster, and discrimination. These experiences can often lead to years of physical and emotional reactions, even after the event. The effects of trauma usually affect relationships, work, health, and the general outlook on life (this becomes more pessimistic). 

But we need to be aware of the fact that, people experience events differently. What may be traumatic for one person may not be as traumatic for another. 

After experiencing a stressful and possibly traumatic event, it is normal for people to feel fear. Also, did you know that this powerful emotion is sometimes called the “fighting or freezing” system? Because of this, people may feel jumpier than before or may wake up avoiding certain places or people that may remind them of the traumatic event. People who have suffered trauma may also have difficulty sleeping or concentrating on tasks. But for most, the responses to certain fears may dissipate after a short period of time. People who continue to experience these feelings to the point where they affect their daily functioning in life may be said they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Did you know that approximately 7-8% of people are usually diagnosed with PTSD throughout their lifetime? Out of this percentage, 50% are women, and 60% are men. These percentages of people will experience some kind of traumatic event at some point in their lives, and this will lead to those long-lasting stressful feelings. 

However, the same thing that sometimes causes one person to develop PTSD, does not affect others. Some factors that can influence the development of PTSD include:

  • The feeling of horror, helplessness, and extreme fear after a traumatic event
  • Having little social support after the event
  • Addressing additional stress after the event
  • Having a pre-existing mental health condition or a state of substance use such as depression or anxiety

Symptoms usually appear within three months from the traumatic event, but sometimes the symptoms may not appear for months or years, therefore the person might not even know they suffer from PTSD. Because of this, it’s good to know that there are four categories of symptoms, that are prevalent in those diagnosed with PTSD: re-experimentation, avoidance, hyper-arousal, and a change in mood and thoughts. This might help you figure out what you are feeling. 

Since not everyone experiences symptoms and distress feelings in the same way, to be sure you are really suffering from PTSD, all four of the symptoms mentioned above must be experienced for more than a month.

Fortunately, even if the trauma has lasting effects or PTSD develops, there are ways in which people can manage the consequences of the trauma so that they can have satisfying and meaningful lives. These ways include various forms of PTSD relief, such as: 

  • specific types of trauma-focused psychotherapy 
  • medication
  • group support
  • biofeedback therapy sessions with special devices such as NUCLEUS and ED-X are recommended. 

Common signs of PTSD

  • Flashbacks – meaning they are re-experiencing the traumatic event as if it were happening again in the present moment. Also called “living nightmares”. 
  • Hyperarousal – such as difficulty sleeping or jumping or trembling very easily.
  • Avoidance – such as staying away from any place or event that reminds the person of trauma, often avoiding people, becoming too shy
  • Thinking and mood problems/swings – such as memory difficulties or loss of interest in activities.

Young children may have different symptoms than adults. Some of the ways they can manifest are:

  • Nightmares instead of waking up flashbacks
  • Wetting the bed when the child has already been trained in the toilet
  • Represents the traumatic event while playing or drawing when coloring
  • Acting unusually clinging to caregivers

People living with or suffering from PTSD may also have the following symptoms:

  • Sleep problems
  • Anger
  • Disconnect or withdraw
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Chronic feelings of being insecure
  • Thoughts of suicide

Informed trauma care

Informed trauma care is a person-centered framework for understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. It focuses on physical, psychological, and emotional safety and healing for each person. The practice of informed care through trauma resists re-trauma and helps people rebuild a sense of control and empowerment. This approach is based on humility and cultural equity. Using a trauma-informed goal promotes meaningful support, empathy, and compassion.

To support change based on trauma, you can:

  • Learn more about informed trauma care, including the prevalence of trauma and its impact on people, communities, and systems.
  • Take a trauma-based approach to your work and make your physical, social, and emotional work environment safe for everyone.
  • Look for and share learning opportunities related to trauma and equity-based approaches.
  • Engage in personal care and wellness activities, both at home and at work.

For more information about PTSD and trauma, risk factors, and detailed information about the different types of treatment available through biofeedback, visit Quantum Medical.