What Is PTSD
There has been a lot of talk about PTSD over the last few years years and that and that is a good thing. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the longest time was kept on the back shelf and only reserved for people who have
suffered horrific events. Now that PTSD has come out of the closet and just recently has been moved from an Anxiety disorder to a Trauma disorder hopefully this will help the people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder will get the help they deserve
Before we take a look at what the DSM has to say about PTSD we need to cover a few basic things first from my experience in the mental health world. PTSD is no longer considered just one event for there are many people
who suffer from this disorder who do not have one single event but numerous similar events that happened over the course of years. The best example my tired brain can think of is that of one who suffered from domestic abuse for years that has conditioned their brain in a manner that fits the PTSD mode.
DSM Criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Criterion A: Traumatic Event
– Serious Injury
– Sexual Violence
– The Exposure Can Be :
– Indirect: Hearing it from a love one or close friend who witnessed the event
– Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to qualifying events, usually by professionals
Now the above are what mental health professionals refer to as the big Traumas but thanks to research they are now considering the smaller Traumas such as I mentioned before. Such as childhood emotional abuse,
long time exposure to violence both professionally and at home, complicated grief plus a number of similar events. K, back to the DSM
Criterion B: Intrusion or Re-experiencing
– Intrusive thoughts or memories
– Nightmares related to the event
– Flashbacks, feelings or reliving the event
– Triggers, Psychological and physical reactivity to reminders of the traumatic event
Criterion B or whatever the DSM wants to call it is what makes PTSD suck and makes it deadly. Unfortunately it is a main reason why a good number of those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder also suffer from
drug or alcohol addiction. Anything that will cover up the thoughts, flashbacks or triggers or at least numb them for awhile. There is a reason so many Vietnam vets came back home with drug addictions. Back
To the DSM
Criterion C: Avoidant Symptoms
– Avoiding thoughts of feelings associated with the traumatic event
– Avoiding people or situations connected to the traumatic event
Trying to avoid the thoughts or feelings associated with the initial event is what makes PTSD dangerous as many people will turn to street drugs or alcohol in order to black out the thoughts. When you hear of people returning from the war and having a substance abuse problem it tends to be related to PTSD.
Criterion D: Negative Alterations In Mood Or Cognition
– Memory Problems that are exclusive to the events
– Negative thoughts or beliefs about oneself or the world
– Distorted sense of blame for one self or others related to the event
– Being stuck in severe emotions related to the event
– Severely reduced interest in pre trauma events
– Feeling detached, isolated or disconnected from other people
PTSD like a lot of other mental illnesses completely distorts the person’s thinking and view of the world. A person who has experienced a PTSD event whether minor or major tends to create their thinking based off of the feelings surrounding the event. Such as a person who was abused may believe that they were a bad person who caused the actual event, this may distort their thinking for a lifetime believing they are a bad person who does not deserve love and happiness. Survivors guilty tends to be a prevalent issue as well in this particular criteria especially when dealing with members of the armed forces
Criterion E: Increased Arousal Symptoms
– Difficulty concentrating
– Irritability, increased anger or temper
– Difficulty falling or staying asleep
– Being easily startled
Living with PTSD is difficult and this particular DSM Criteria covers it pretty well. When living with PTSD a person tends to be hypervigilant where there fight or flight senses are always running at full tilt. Trying to walk through a crowded area can be difficult as the brain is constantly searching both for danger and a way out at the same time. Sleep can be difficult as your brain is running a million miles per hour and not allowing the body to rest
Againwhat the mental health professional is going to look for is the time period or how long the person has been dealing with these feelings and emotions. Thankfully PTSD research has come a long way and doctors and
mental health professionals have more tools in their belts to help those of us who deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on a daily basis.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatments
Thankfully treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder continue to be developed and more so in the last decade when the people in the white coats really focused in this area. There are a variety of treatments for PTSD which I will briefly cover but as an added point most people who deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are also dealing with another mental health disorder at the same time such as substance abuse, anxiety or depression
1. Counseling – Counseling remains the number one treatment for PTSD and it is essential. The person suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder needs to fully examine the event or situation that is the cause and come to an understanding and examine all aspects of the event. This is not easy and it is critical for the person to be fully comfortable with their mental health therapist.
2. Prescription Medication – Prescription medication for PTSD tends to be used to treat the other mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Anxiety is a common condition with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and certain medication can make it less life altering.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a life consuming mental illness disorder that can be treated with the right help. Along with PTSD it is essential to treat all the other concurrent disorders that the person is dealing with.