Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder, heavily associated with exposure to trauma, extreme stress, and fear. It can be a very difficult disorder to manage, due to the symptoms that it causes, including insomnia, constant alertness, and flashbacks.
It’s caused by either first-hand experience or the witnessing of a traumatic, unforeseeable, or worrying event, firstly displayed through temporary signs. While self-help and management can benefit some individuals, naturally helping to control anxiety, for others, PTSD can develop into an everyday struggle, diminishing quality of life.
In the event of a PTSD diagnosis, understanding the disorder, treating the disorder, and managing the disorder will be essential to restore physical and psychological stability. Without such an approach, PTSD can turn into further mental health issues, including panic disorders, stress disorders and substance abuse.
Recovering from PTSD is possible, as it’s a treatable and manageable disorder, best approached with professional support. Being aware of PTSD as a disorder, the signs and symptoms of its development, and how to control its effects is encouraged here at Nova Recovery, to take such action when necessary.
Here is our insight into ‘what are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?’, along with possible causes and available treatment options here at our private hospital.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a mental health disorder, with a focus on anxiety-related symptoms, influenced by trauma and acute stress on the mind/body. It can develop up to 6 months after experiencing, witnessing, or being exposed to a traumatic, freak, or damaging event displayed as a significant shock. A single moment or consistent exposure to trauma can cause PTSD.
Such shock can be induced by varying events, from childbirth, abuse, and bereavement, to accidents, disasters, and the consequences of episodic stress. The perception of trauma is different for every individual, meaning that shock may be displayed for one individual, yet control and management may be present for another. With this in mind, PTSD is a complex disorder, which is impacted by personal responses to anxiety, rather than the magnitude and lasting damages of trauma itself.
Around 4 in every 100 people, each week, experience a PTSD diagnosis. It can be diagnosed across three different levels, recognised as mild, moderate, and severe. Each level will display the degree of impact that signs and symptoms of PTSD are having on everyday life, rather than the severity of the event itself, understanding that all responses are different. A diagnosis can also be found through different types of PTSD, such as birth trauma.
While there are different diagnoses of PTSD, there are however familiar signs of the disorder, indicating that trauma has been sustained. Here’s some awareness of ‘what are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?’, to differentiate it from other anxiety-related disorders.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of PTSD?
Signs and symptoms do naturally fluctuate from person to person. A wide range of factors, such as environments, pre-existing mental health and personal support can determine how severe PTSD becomes, how manageable symptoms are, and how they also display.
Symptoms of PTSD can immediately display or can take some time to develop, usually within 6 months of trauma. Known to impact everyday life for some, relationships, physical health, and mental wellbeing can deteriorate, along with further social and behavioural problems.
Common signs and symptoms of PTSD are however noted, in both physical and psychological forms.
- Sleeping problems
- Feeling on edge
- A lack of concentration
- Heightened blood pressure
- Physical avoidance of stress, trauma and reliving the event
- Flashbacks of trauma
- Physical signs of anxiety and panic
- Negative thought process
- Reliving the traumatic/stressful event
- An emotional outburst, reflecting a roller-coaster-like feeling
- Memory problems
- Challenges with accepting and displaying positive emotions
- Numbness and hopelessness
- Withdrawing from everyday life
- Difficulty maintaining relationships, responsibilities, and personal identity
- Pre-empting and worrying about situations, before they occur
- Psychological signs of anxiety and panic
- Feelings of dissociation
- Negative outlooks on life and on oneself
- Using drugs or alcohol as a form of avoidance
Many of the above signs and symptoms are common through anxiety disorders, due to the stress that’s placed on the body and mind. Entering the fight, flight or freeze response, both physical and psychological signs and symptoms are common, to personally work through triggers of PTSD.
Causes Of PTSD
Just like the multitude of PTSD symptoms, causes are unpredictable and personal. The majority of diagnoses are linked to trauma, accidents, unforeseen outcomes, and chronic stress, all of which diminish personal control and ability to think rationally. Through such feelings, panic and stress are natural responses, which if enabled, will develop into stronger bouts of anxiety, such as PTSD.
It is very important to gain a professional diagnosis when considering PTSD, to become aware of the initial trigger of such symptoms. This will help with both the treatment and management of PTSD, ensuring that rehabilitation and relapse prevention can be fulfilled.
It’s also vital to consider whether any co-occurring disorders are present through this process, as both drug and alcohol addiction, along with further mental health issues are correlated with PTSD. In the event of co-occurring disorders, diagnosed through the admissions process, dual diagnosis treatment will be available through rehab.
Treatment To Help With PTSD
Treating PTSD is possible, to alleviate the common symptoms, along with managing emotional responses through self-help and healthy coping strategies.
Treatment options focus on rehabilitation, which can reflect those of acute/chronic stress treatment. In place to process trauma, negative emotions and manage future exposure, trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation, exposure therapy and stress management are key options.
PTSD treatment is in place to process emotional responses and outlooks greater, with rationality and clarity in mind. With a dedicated team, here at Nova Recovery, mental health recovery will be aimed for, whilst promoting relapse prevention planning.
Prescription medications can be used to treat PTSD, especially to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, this will be a personal recommendation, depending on the severity of a diagnosis, along with the signs and symptoms of PTSD.
In the event that a dual diagnosis is present, detoxification, along with appropriate addiction treatment will also be included within a rehabilitation programme, to benefit all-around recovery.
Self-help tips for managing PTSD will also be provided, focusing on mindfulness, maintaining a balanced lifestyle, avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol, finding a healthy coping mechanism and continuing to accept professional means of support.
PTSD can impact every individual differently. Yet, there is a general consensus that it is a difficult disorder to manoeuvre through everyday life with. In the event of a life-limiting PTSD diagnosis, accessing support will be encouraged here at Nova Recovery, our private hospital.
‘What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?’ will provide fluctuating answers, due to the nature of the disorder. Some individuals can experience extreme anxiety while others will encounter acute stress. Getting to the bottom of your own personal responses, post-trauma, will be important, to access the right support.
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