Monday, June 17, 2013

More on PTSD

Originally published on October 18, 2011 on the old blog

Composed a bit more now, I'm ready to hopefully finish this PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) article. In the last post, debunking myths was my main focus. In this article, we will review the realities.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can be triggered in anyone that has experienced a life altering event, unexpected shock (also referred to as shell shock), participating in body removal, recitation of sick or injured, unexpectedly witnessing flying, cut off, severed, or dismembered body parts. Being the witness or an active participant in any of these events standing on the sideline can result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is common for police, fire fighter, EMT, military, and other professions of this sort to be traumatized by occurrences in their line of work. It is also common for suicide victim family survivors, and people that suffer from extreme anxieties to fall victim to Post Traumatic Stress disorder as well. As mentioned in the last post, PTSD does not discriminate against anyone.

Class 1 symptoms: the sufferer re-experiences the traumatic incident in nightmares & flashbacks. [This could be compared to a living hell.]
Class 2 symptoms: the sufferer displays avoidance. He/she wants to stay away from anything that may possibly remind her/him of the trauma. They may also display lack of interest to all life circumstances, like sights, smells, sounds, conversations associated or reminding them of the trauma. They could become unable to enjoy activities or loving/compassionate feelings toward loved ones. [This typically is the onset of anxiety disorders or depression.]
Class 3 symptoms: hyperarousal - Classic symptoms are being irritable all the time & an inability to sleep. [Again, anxiety and depression.]

Onset and duration of PTSD is determined by timing and the individual experiencing it.
Acute –when the duration of symptoms is shorter than 3 months.
Chronic –when the symptoms last three months or longer.
Delayed Onset - between the traumatic event and the onset of the symptoms there is at least 6 month period.

How someone experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feels
Diagnostic criteria for Post traumatic Stress Disorder from DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as sited below:
The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions.
(2) Recurrent distressing dreams of the event.
(3) Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated).
(4) Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
(5) Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness, as indicated by three (or more) of the following: 
-Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma.
-Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
-Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
-Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
-Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
-Restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
      -Sense of a foreshortened future
Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), indicated by two (or more) of the following: (1) Difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) Irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) Difficulty concentrating
(4) Hypervigilance
(5) Exaggerated startle response

If you know someone diagnosed or being treated for PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are many ways you can help. But, telling them "it's all in your head" is the worst thing you could ever say.
Some people suffering from PTSD have taken their own life. Suicide is never a solution. If you know someone suffering from PTSD, be a friend. Don't push them over the edge.

There's more to say, but I can't write anymore at this time. Maybe tomorrow, there will be understanding people in this life.

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