Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) describes a set of symptoms that appear after experiencing a traumatic or catastrophic event. Those who experience PTSD have difficulty overcoming an unpleasant experience. These symptoms lead to an alteration of physical life to such an extent that leading a normal life becomes very difficult.

Symptoms of PTSD are normal in those who have suffered or witnessed a traumatic experience, but if they persist for approximately more than a month and the individual is unable to progress in handling their emotions and processing the experience, this is considered to be post-traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

People with post-traumatic stress feel depressed, anxious, guilty and angry or more irritable and susceptible. In addition, symptoms may include nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli, anxiety, or feeling incredibly low. In many cases, the patient often takes an avoidance attitude to the trauma, as well as a lack of interest in maintaining social relationships.

Causes of post-traumatic stress

The cause of post-traumatic stress is a traumatic experience, which causes intense sadness or anxiety. PTSD can occur after any type of traumatic event, as it depends on the individual and their reaction to the event. PTSD could occur after a road accident, or violent assault, for example, but it could also occur as a result of a particularly traumatic birth experience or medical experience. PTSD can present shortly after the experience, or it can present weeks or months later.

Treatment of post-traumatic stress

Treatment of post-traumatic stress varies depending on the case, but it may include psychotherapy to overcome the trauma, and medication (e.g antidepressants).

The most common therapies to treat post-traumatic stress are exposure therapy and cognitive therapy as well as techniques to manage anxiety.

Medication should always be prescribed under the supervision and therapy of a psychiatrist so that the patient's progression can be controlled and observed, thus avoiding possible side effects of the drugs.