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Key Information About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Srikanth strongly believes that prevention is better than cure. He is of the opinion that awareness is a key to prevent diseases.

Overview

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.

An estimated 3.6 percent of the world's population suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder in 2012.

key-information-about-posttraumatic-stress-disorder

Types

TypeDescription

Acute PTSD

Symptoms last less than three months

Chronic PTSD

Symptoms last at least three months

Delayed-onset PTSD

Symptoms manifest at least six months following a traumatic event

Causes

As is usually the case with mental health problems, doctors cannot pinpoint why some people develop posttraumatic stress disorder.

Those who have a history of trauma and stress are more likely to develop PTSD than those who do not have a similar history.

While any traumatic event can trigger PTSD symptoms, common traumas that have been linked to this mental illness include:

  • accidents, like car crash
  • natural disasters, like earthquake
  • acts of terrorism
  • violent crimes, like murder
  • physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • neglect
  • house fire
  • exposure to violence in the community
  • suicide of a family member or friend.

Chronic stress increases acyl-ghrelin for years after the initial traumatic stressor exposure in some adolescents.

Those with elevated levels of this blood-based hormone are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

Experts say fireworks celebrations and explosions can trigger symptoms for people with this condition.

key-information-about-posttraumatic-stress-disorder

Symptoms

PTSD is characterized by three main types of symptoms:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares.
  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma.
  • Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.

Diagnosis

Computerized adaptive assessment tools for veterans with PTSD produced valid screening diagnoses and severity scores, according to study results published in JAMA Network Open in July 2021.

Treatment

PTSD can be treated. With treatment trauma survivors can feel safe in the world and live happy and productive lives. Effective treatments for PTSD include different types of psychotherapy and medication.

Four interventions are strongly recommended, all of which are variations of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

The category of CBT encompasses various types and elements of treatment used by cognitive behavioral therapists, while Cognitive Processing Therapy, Cognitive Therapy and Prolonged Exposure are all more specialized treatments that focus on particular aspects of CBT interventions.

In 1987 psychologist Francine Shapiro developed a new type of psychotherapy known as EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from PTSD.

There is no one medication that treats all the symptoms of PTSD, yet some medications can help with some symptoms and also increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy.

Antidepressants, atypical antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics are used to treat PTSD.

Adding 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) to integrative psychotherapy may significantly improve symptoms and well-being for patients with severe posttraumatic stress disorder, including those with the dissociative subtype.

A recent phase 3 clinical trial found that MDMA, in combination with talk therapy, was significantly more effective than talk therapy alone, in treating this disorder.

Eight million American adults experience PTSD annually, and with limited FDA approved therapies, there is a large unmet medical need.

Post 9/11, mental health experts found that some existing treatments for the condition were doing more harm than good to PTSD victims.

For instance, there was a treatment method known as critical incident stress briefing in which the victims were asked to talk about their experiences. It was found that this method was activating high emotional arousal that would lead to PTSD.

key-information-about-posttraumatic-stress-disorder

Prevention

Ways to prevent PTSD include keeping civilian and military populations out of harm's way and completely eliminating emotional traumas associated with rape, violent crime, or severe accidents. Unfortunately, neither goal is possible to achieve.

Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis suggest that their findings could lead to more accurate diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

— Catharine Paddock PhD

PTSD and COVID-19

PTSD had a prevalence of 30.2 percent among acute COVID-19 infection survivors, researchers found in a cross-sectional study published in JAMA Psychiatry in March 2021.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

Comments

Srikanth R (author) on April 08, 2019:

Welcome.

Lorna Lamon on April 08, 2019:

This is an interesting article - I treat PTSD and see first-hand just how debilitating this condition can be. Prevention is always better than the cure, however, unfortunately we have a long way to go before we can live in a world where we can all feel safe. Thank you for sharing.

Srikanth R (author) on April 06, 2019:

Thank you.

Srikanth R (author) on April 06, 2019:

True.

Larry Slawson from North Carolina on April 06, 2019:

I agree with Liz. Thank you for sharing. Interesting read.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 06, 2019:

Many years ago, nothing was said of post traumatic stress disorder. It is good that it is more widely recognised and treated these days, but there is still progress to be made.

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