The month of June is also known as PTSD awareness month. Every year thousands of people are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition people can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause many distressing symptoms, including anxiety, panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares. Following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and helpful information on how to help someone with PTSD receive the treatment they need to improve their quality of life.
What are some of the most common causes of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
A common misconception regarding post-traumatic stress disorder is that it can only be caused by combat stress. While some military veterans do have post-traumatic stress disorder, there are many other ways in which a person can develop post-traumatic stress. Experiencing a life-threatening event such as a car crash, natural disaster, or an act of violence can cause acute stress that may develop into post-traumatic stress disorder over time. Psychiatrists and therapists usually diagnose post-traumatic a year or more after the event has taken place. Because these symptoms can seemingly arise out of thin air several months later, it is crucial to learn how to recognize them to help the person receive effective PTSD treatment.
Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder may present differently from person to person. However, there are a few common symptoms that tend to occur for most people suffering from this debilitating condition.
They may experience increased anxiety when exposed to certain situations that remind them of their traumatic event. For example, a person experiencing post-traumatic stress from a car accident may become fearful or anxious when having to ride in a car.
- Severe emotional distress or physical stress reactions to something that reminds you of the trauma. For example, a combat veteran may become particularly anxious during firework shows or when a car backfires.
- Flashbacks or reliving the traumatic event as if it were repeatedly happening. Situations that remind you of the event may precipitate a flashback, in which they actively relive and reexperience the traumatic event in their mind.
- Self-destructive behaviors. In addition to the above symptoms, some people with PTSD may begin to engage in self-destructive behaviors to calm their intrusive thoughts. They might start taking drugs or drinking to self-medicate.
- Risky sexual behaviors. Other people with PTSD may take part in risky sexual behaviors. This may be a way that some people with PTSD distract themselves from what's going on in their minds.
- Social withdrawal. Other PTSD symptoms include a loss of interest in things they once liked to do and withdrawal from their family and friends.
How can Posttraumatic Stress Disorder be treated?
There are various ways to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, both pharmacologically and therapeutically.
Receiving counseling from a qualified social worker or licensed therapist is also an essential component of a well-rounded treatment plan. You can do therapy for PTSD both one-on-one or within a group therapy setting. Groups are usually comprised of others who have all experienced similar traumatic events. It is not uncommon to have groups only for veterans, victims of abuse, accident survivors, and additional options for those with other specific circumstances. By addressing a person's physiological and psychological symptoms, successfully treating this condition increases substantially.
Doctors use various medications to treat PTSD. These include anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medications. Medications can have quite a few side effects. So, you will want to discuss with your doctor whether or not they are a good option for you.
Natural Remedies & Lifestyle Changes
There are various lifestyle changes and natural remedies that you can try for PTSD. You may discover a combination of these and therapy can help you effectively manage your symptoms.
- Limit alcohol intake. People who have PTSD are at a greater risk of substance abuse issues. Unfourntuely, this can make the symptoms worse. Therefore, keep a close eye on your alcohol intake.
- Add certain supplements. Although supplements won't treat the disorder, some people with PTSD have found that certain supplements can help ease the severity of the symptoms. Studies conducted in 2017 and 2018 have shown that post-traumatic stress disorder can severely impact the brain's ability to regulate the amount of cortisol and oxytocin released within the bloodstream. These studies concluded that oxytocin plays an integral role in alleviating fear-based anxiety caused by post-traumatic stress disorder. Oxytocin 200IU ODT has been found to help regulate the brain's oxytocin and cortisol levels. This is likely why many people with PTSD feel better when they take this supplement.
In honor of PTSD awareness month, everyone should take the time to become more aware of PTSD causes and symptoms. By learning how to identify the signs in your loved ones, you can help them receive the treatment they need to start feeling better and enhance their quality of life.