Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most disturbing anxiety disorders that a person can face. It develops after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events. Traumatic events can involve situations like accidents, sexual assaults, warfare or any other major threats that attack the person's life or wellbeing in general. People who have experienced any kind of assault in traumatic situations are the ones most likely to develop this anxiety disorder as opposed to people who have faced non-assault based trauma accidents.
PTSD overwhelms the victim with intense feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, especially when situations around the victim appear to be unpredictable and uncontrollable. Children who have faced assaults, especially if they are under the ages of ten, are less likely to fall prey to the disorder than adults. It is one of the largest anxiety disorders that war veterans suffer from.
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person. The symptoms can develop in a matter of hours or days after the traumatic event, but sometimes it can take months, or even years to show. There are three main types of symptoms and they can arise suddenly, gradually, or can come and go over time:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event: Through intense or upsetting memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (distress, racing heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating).
- Avoidance and numbing: Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma, or failure to remember aspects of the trauma altogether. Numbing symptoms include a loss of interest in activities and life in general, feeling detached from others or emotionally numb or feeling like you have a limited future.
- Increased anxiety and emotional arousal: These symptoms include difficulty falling or staying asleep, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, feeling jumpy, easily startled and hyper vigilance.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD can be caused by a variety of traumatic events, particularly those events that involve assault of some kind. PTSD doesn't depend on a person having any predisposed medical or psychological condition. People especially at risk of falling victim to PTSD are combat military personnel, victims of natural disasters, survivors of concentration camps or violent crime victims. There is a key term that is used when referencing the disorder, that is “survivor's guilt”. It is known as such because victims suffer from huge psychological distress for having survived an event in which one or more others may have died from.
Treatment of PTSD
Recovering from this anxiety disorder involves aiding the nervous system in returning to its pre-trauma make up and state of balance. Many a time, psychologists stress on the fact that PTSD can be brought under regulation through social engagement, that is, through interaction with another human being. It could be a loved one, spouse, a friend or a professional therapist. The first and the major obstacle a victim of PTSD faces is to mobilise himself or herself from the stress.
Therapists suggest moving out and connecting with nature often heals an anxiety disorder. Activities like hiking, camping, rock climbing, skiing and white water rafting have often shown to be of great help to war veterans suffering from PTSD in regularising their lives.