Post traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by witnessing or experiencing an incredibly dangerous event. The issue with PTSD is that an individual reacts differently to situations that they might otherwise react normally to. It is natural for an individual to feel fear and react to it. This is known as the “fight or flight” reaction. If we are in a situation, within seconds, our brain has made up its mind if we are going to run away or fight.
The problem arises when someone has PTSD. What happens in this scenario is someone has those heightened feelings of stress and fear even when there is nothing to be afraid of. For example, walking down the street and seeing someone walking down the other side could cause a fear when normally, that would have no effect. Because of this, it is important to get the necessary treatment for it so that it doesn’t become a problem. Noticing the symptoms of PTSD is an effective way of ensuring it doesn’t become more unbearable than it already is.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
When dealing with a patient with post traumatic stress disorder, their symptoms can be broken down into three categories. These categories are re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms and hyperarousal symptoms. Pinpointing them can help a therapist better work with a patient with post traumatic stress disorder.
- Frightening thoughts
- Bad dreams
- Flashbacks – This includes reliving the event that caused the PTSD. This can result in an accelerated heart rate and sweat.
These are typically symptoms in which the patient can continue to see whatever it is that caused the PTSD to begin with.
- When places and situations remind the patient of the cause of the PTSD, they stay away from it completely.
- Feeling guilt, depression, numbness and/or worry.
- Changing personal routine
- Not doing activities that were once enjoyable
- Having trouble remembering the event that caused the PTSD.
- Very easy startled.
- The entire body is consistently on high alert.
- Feeling very tense and/or “on edge.”
- Difficulty sleeping
- Angry outbursts
This is due to the onset of the body constantly being afraid of the event happening again, so it goes into overcautious mode. However, these symptoms along with the other two categories can make it very difficult to have normal relationships as well as do typical activities. Therefore, it is important to see a therapist if PTSD is something going on in one’s life.