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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Resources
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? The National Center for PTSD defines the infliction as "a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life.

PTSD is marked by clear biological changes as well as psychological symptoms. PTSD is complicated by the fact that it frequently occurs in conjunction with related disorders such as depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other problems of physical and mental health. The disorder is also associated with impairment of the person's ability to function in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems and divorces, family discord, and difficulties in parenting. "

We do not know what causes PTSD, but psychological, genetic, physical, and social factors are involved. PTSD alters the body’s response to stress by affecting stress hormones and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit information between our nerves). Previous exposure to trauma may increase the risk, which suggests that this kind of a reaction may be a learned response.

What are the Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Typical symptoms include:

Repeated reliving or flashbacks of the event, which interrupts normal daily activity.

Avoidance techniques by individual: The Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma, lack of interest in normal activities, sense of emotional numbing, avoidance of people and places reminiscent of the event, reduced expression of moods.

Increased arousal and hypervigilance: Being easily startled and insomnia are common. There may be irritability or outbursts of anger. Focused concentration may become difficult. Anxiety and depression are commonly associated with the above symptoms and signs, and suicidal ideation is not infrequent. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs may be a complicating factor.

Other symptoms that may be associated with this disease include a sense of guilt about the event (including "survivor guilt") as well as any of the following symptoms which are typically associated with anxiety, panic, and stress; paleness, racing heartbeat, palpitations, headaches hot flashes and dizziness.

How is PTSD Diagnosed? PTSD is usually not diagnosed unless there is evidence that it arose within 6 months of a traumatic life event. How PTSD is diagnosed varies greatly depending on treatment centers, it could take one 1 hour visit or specialized assessment taking many visits. It is advisable to ask your primary care physician to recommend a specialist who has extensive experience in the field.

What is the Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress ? The goal of most treatment is to encourage the individual to recall the event, release his emotions by expressing their feeling, and letting him/her gain mastery over the event. Most current recommendations include;

Counseling with a trained professional - the individual learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. This type of therapy helps limit distorted thinking by looking at worries more realistically.

Medication - The medications most often used to treat PTSD act on the nervous system and may be used to reduce anxiety and other associated symptoms. Anti-depressants, including Zoloft, Elavil, Paxil, Saphris and Vanatrip, have proved effective in treating PTSD. Sedatives can help with sleep disturbance. Anti-anxiety medicines may be useful, but the benzodiazepines, a type of drug used to treat anxiety, can be addictive.

Support Groups - Either in a controlled setting or on the internet, discussing your feelings is a great way to relieve stress.

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External Website Resources:

US Dept of Veteran Affairs

National Institute of Mental Health - Post Tramatic Stress Disorder

Mayo Clinic - Post Tramatic Stress Disorder

Forums:

PTSD Forum - Post Tramatic Stress Disorder

Heathful Chat Forum

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