All You Need to Know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) | Dr. Sanjeet Diwan

All You Need to Know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


The article covers all the aspects related to PTSD, including definition, signs and symptoms, causes and risk factors, treatments and recovery process, etc.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic experience like war, assault, disaster, or even an accident. Many people with PTSD repeatedly re-experience the trauma in their thoughts during the day and in nightmares when they're asleep.

What are the Causes of PTSD?

People who have been assaulted are more likely to get post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those who have not. After being raped, half of the individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Children are less prone to develop PTSD following a traumatic event than adults, especially if they are under ten years old.

The chance of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic experience is influenced by the sort of trauma and is greatest after sexual assault (11.4%), especially rape (19.0%).

Domestic violence victims are at an increased risk of developing PTSD. There's a significant connection between witnessing domestic abuse while pregnant and the development of PTSD in moms.

Cancer, a heart attack, and a stroke are all conditions that increase the risk of PTSD. Intensive care treatment (ICU) is also a risk factor for PTSD.

Women who undergo breast cancer diagnosis and surgery may develop PTSD as a consequence of it.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) usually begin during or after the traumatic event and last over a month. These symptoms include:

  • Intrusive recollections: flashbacks, repetitive memories, nightmares, and recurring thoughts about the incident
  • Avoiding situations that could trigger reminders of the trauma
  • Losing interest in activities or feeling distant in relationships
  • Feeling emotionally numb or having heightened irritability, anger, or anxiety
  • Feeling suspicious of others and feeling out of control when reminded about the trauma
  • A change in belief and increased difficulty in experiencing positive emotions such as happiness
  • Easily startled, trouble sleeping and concentrating, feeling tense, hypervigilant to possible danger

Classification and Stages of Development of PTSD

People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be divided into three classes:

Class I: normal reaction to an abnormal situation; the person may experience some anxiety and distress for a few weeks following the incident but then gradually recovers.

Class II: acute stress disorder (ASD) or acute stress reaction; the individual suffers from some of the symptoms of PTSD, but these symptoms don't meet all the criteria required for a full diagnosis. This happens within one month after the incident and only lasts for about four weeks.

Class III: delayed on-set PTSD, where traumatic experiences appear to be forgotten for a long time until later, often after years, the symptoms start to develop.

How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

If you think you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) it is important to seek medical advice. The physician will take your medical history, ask questions about the traumatic event and check for any symptoms of PTSD.

There are no laboratory tests available to make a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. But some exams may be done to rule out other conditions which can have symptoms resembling those of post-traumatic stress disorder.

How is PTSD Treated?

There are several treatments available for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The best treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms and how soon they develop after the traumatic event. Some treatments may be needed for six to twelve weeks.

The recommended treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to learn coping skills that will help you deal with stress related to your memories of the traumatic event. CBT also helps you control flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD.
  • Individual or group therapy to learn about your condition and how to adjust back to normal life after the traumatic event
  • Family therapy helps family members cope with the effects of having a loved one with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can help them understand what you are going through and find ways to support you.
  • Psychoeducation helps you learn about your condition, its symptoms, and how it is treated so that the chances of getting better are increased.
  • Medication can be used to reduce some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance.

What Can You Do To Help Yourself?

There are several things that you can do to feel better after a traumatic event:

  • Get support from your family and friends who will listen when you want to talk about how you feel. This is the best way to get relief from the distress caused by a traumatic event.
  • Try to avoid alcohol and street drugs as they may increase anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and panic attacks.
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods. Exercise releases endorphins that can help improve your mood and sleep more easily. Healthy eating will help you feel better physically and mentally.
  • Learn to manage your time so you can do things like work, study, or spend time with friends.
  • Learn relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, massage, or progressive muscle relaxation. These can be used to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Final Words:

PTSD is a serious mental health disorder that can affect people of all ages, gender, and ethnic backgrounds. The good news is that there are treatments available to help you manage the symptoms of this debilitating condition.