PTSD is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and occurs in individuals who have been through events that are dangerous and cause disturbing psychological shifts.
PTSD has become well known to the mainstream through the Veterans coming back from war. It has affected 31% of Vietnam Veterans, and studies show that 20 Veterans commit suicide each and everyday. The brutality of war would cause damage to almost any individual who has placed in this situation, and PTSD is something that is very real and needs to be taken very seriously.
For most events, it is okay to feel scared. Fear is healthy, and activates a serious of reactions in your body to make sure that you are removed from the potential danger. Sometimes this system gets high jacked. For instance, we are no longer being chased by tigers like we were 1000s of years ago, but we still have that primitive fight and flight response that is ingrained in us and can be activated if our parent or boss yells at us, for instance. Once the brain has become exposed to significant traumas, the brain will treat ordinary stresses and magnify the damage that they can cause to an individual. This causes a great amount of emotional disturbance, and can happen even if an individual does not have a risk of being hurt with the event.
PTSD can occur indefinitely or it can occur for a short amount of time.
There are strict diagnostic criteria for diagnosing PTSD that a psychiatrist or a psychologist can diagnose. Furthermore, there are re-experiencing symptoms, including flashbacks, where an individual can relive a whole experience or a part of the experience.
If you are placed into a dangerous situation, it is normal to feel scared about what happened for a short term thereafter. Having some of these symptoms is known as acute stress disorder, or ASD. When these symptoms exist for a longer period of time, so for greater than a month is when the diagnosis of PTSD is made.
Risk Factors of PTSD relate to individuals who have been placed in situations that are serious or dangerous. The age is not as relevant as the type of situation an individual is placed into. Anyone placed into a war situation, a natural disaster, or anyone who has experienced sexual, physical, or severe emotional abuse is at risk. In addition, individuals who experience sexual or physical assault are also at risk.
Studies show that approximately 10% of the population will experience PTSD at some time in their lives. It is possible that genes could play a role regarding PTSD, and new research shows that there is truly brain damage that occurs with PTSD when they compare their brains of individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD compared to those who aren't. There is a great amount of research in the field. There is also research that shows that something called the resilience factor can help make PTSD less likely to occur or cause less damage to one's mind.
What are the treatments for PTSD?
Research shows that medications, therapy, eye desensitization, and other innovative therapies can assist individuals who suffer from PTSD. It is very important to work with an experienced provider, like those we have at Psychiatrists of Kansas City, to make sure we are giving the best possible treatment to you.
Our team at Psychiatrists of Kansas City are experts in diagnosing PTSD and being there for you.