Health

Post-traumatic stress disorder: what it is, symptoms and how to treat it

People who have experienced a frightening or dangerous event may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that manifests itself through a set of physical or emotional signs. The cause can be related to violence, abuse or even natural disasters.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, patients have intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings that last long after the traumatic event is over, and they may relive that event through flashbacks or nightmares.

People with this disorder tend to avoid situations or people that refer to the traumatic event and may have strong negative reactions to certain triggers (when they hear noises or when they accidentally bump into someone, for example).

A curiosity is that the disorder can be triggered even by indirect exposure, such as a police officer often exposed to details of child abuse cases, for example.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder falls within anxiety disorder (Image: LightFieldStudios/Envato)

The severity of PTSD symptoms can vary from case to case, but the most common are:

  • Repeated, involuntary memories and flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Anguish when faced with people, places, activities, objects and situations related to the event
  • Mood changes
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts and feelings that lead to distorted impressions
  • Ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame
  • Emotional emptiness (inability to experience positive emotions)
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • self-destructive behavior
  • concentration problems
  • sleep problems

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Signs sometimes seen in very young children (under age 6) can include:

  • Frequent bed wetting
  • speech disability
  • Excessive emotional dependence on a parent or other adult

Meanwhile, older children and teenagers are more likely to experience symptoms similar to those seen in adults.

treatments

In an interview before the Canaltech, psychiatrist Dr. Luiz Scocca, from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), pointed out that post-traumatic stress disorder can surface up to three months after the event, but there are also more atypical situations, where a year after the event, the disorder begins to develop. to develop.

Thus, when the symptoms last only a month or less, the case is treated as an adjustment disorder, because it is not known whether the symptoms will limit the patient in the long term. Between an adaptation process and a very serious disorder, there is a whole range of manifestations, a spectrum of possible symptoms and signs.

In any case, the main treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder involves psychotherapy, and when this is not enough, the combination of medications, such as antidepressants or antipsychotics, prescribed by a psychiatrist, is necessary.

Source: American Psychiatric Association, National Institute of Mental Health

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