Many people are exposed to significant trauma or levels of chronic stress at some point, and for some, it can result in PTSD. While PTSD was once thought to be strictly a military issue, it was even called shell shock in the early 20th century, it is now known that it can develop or be caused by an incredibly wide range of events or stimuli.
Many people suspect that they may have PTSD, or believe they see signs of it in a loved one, so it’s important to understand the condition, as well as how it is recognized and treated at a clinical level. Once you know how it can manifest and how it can be readily treated, you can see how quickly life with PTSD can be improved.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that is relatively common and results from exposure to trauma or intense stress. Nearly 8% of people are affected by PTSD, according to the National Center for PTSD. Some of the major symptoms of PTSD are severe levels of anxiety or near-constant panic, intrusive thought patterns that are frequently uncontrollable, flashbacks to the traumatic event, and severe sleep disruption by either nightmares or insomnia.
PTSD has also been known to create problems in the memory centers of the brain, leading to diminished short-term memory. There are additional negative effects on the individual’s mental state, and the symptoms of PTSD are known to grow more serious over time, often causing significant disruption in the individual’s life.
How Is PTSD Diagnosed?
PTSD is generally diagnosed by a doctor who will do a three-part examination. First, they will see if there are any underlying medical conditions that may be responsible for the symptoms. Following the physical, there will be a full psychological evaluation which includes an open discussion of your symptoms and trauma. Finally, the doctor will use the criteria in the DSM-V, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to establish the alignment with psychiatric guidelines.
Talking To Someone That Has PTSD
If you feel that someone close to you may have PTSD, opening the lines of communication is key. You want to make sure you approach the subject as an opportunity for a positive outlook and always be sure you listen to and validate their feelings. Many people with PTSD feel incredibly isolated, and someone coming to them suddenly about professional help can be intimidating.
How Is PTSD Treated?
Someone that feels they may have PTSD often wonders how to get treatment for PTSD and how to treat PTSD, specifically. While the exact treatment plan will be different from one individual to another, there will be many commonalities.
The basic premise of treatment will be to help the patient identify their symptoms, and help them to learn effective and healthy ways to address those symptoms. This will often include components of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as some form of medication.
Ongoing Recovery & Support
One of the keys to a successful recovery is consistency. Stick to the treatment plan, and be sure you continue to stay educated about PTSD. Ensure that there is a solid self-care routine in place, and do everything possible to avoid self-medication. A healthy social circle and support groups are great ways to stay connected to others and keep on the path to recovery.
How To Get Treatment For PTSD
If you or someone you know has been exposed to trauma and may have PTSD, professional treatment can help maintain control of your life and your health. Reach out today to discuss your emotional support needs with an experienced professional.