Updated: Jan 8
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that develops in people who have experienced a traumatic event, such as in war veterans or after a fatal car accident. Symptoms include anxiety and depression, as well as being easily startled or overwhelmed. Approximately 3.5% of adults in the US are affected by it or one in eleven people.
What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs after people have experienced a traumatic event. It is normal to experience a range of reactions after trauma, but most people naturally recover from their initial symptoms. People affected with PTSD may have intense, disturbing, and upsetting thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are in no immediate danger. Reliving the event is common through flashbacks or nightmares.
PTSD can occur in all types of people and at any age. Women are twice more likely as men to develop it. Furthermore, Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than people outside these ethnic groups.
What Are The Symptoms Of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD can begin soon after the event, within 3 months. However, in some cases, they do not begin until years afterward. Some people may recover within months, and in others, it may become a lifelong condition.
Doctors with experience helping people with mental illness, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, can diagnose PTSD in patients. According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are four different types of symptoms: intrusion, avoidance, arousal and reactivity, and cognition and mood. To be diagnosed with PTSD, a patient must have all 4 types for at least a month.
Intrusion symptoms/re-experiencing symptoms include repeated involuntary memories. These include flashbacks and distressing dreams that may be so vivid, people get the feeling that they are reliving the distressing incident. They can affect a person’s everyday routine and can be triggered by words, objects, and situations.
Avoidance symptoms include avoiding people, places, activities, objects, and situations that may once again trigger distressing memories. They may cause a person to change their personal routine.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include being easily startled, hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping, feeling tense or on the edge, and angry outbursts. They are constant, instead of being triggered by any one event or situation. Arousal and reactivity symptoms make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping or concentrating.
Lastly, cognition and mood symptoms include trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event, negative thoughts about oneself or others, guilt and blame, and loss of interest in enjoyable activities. These symptoms can continue to worsen after the event but are not due to injury or substance abuse. Furthermore, they can make a person feel alienated or detached from friends and family members.
What Are Treatments For People With PTSD?
Not everyone who develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will need psychiatric help. Many people recover from the support of their loved ones and family members. However, for those who need professional treatment to recover from the psychological stress of the disorder, there are several effective and research-proven methods available. Some tried-and-true methods include Cognitive Processing Therapy (modifying painful and negative emotions and beliefs), Prolonged Exposure Therapy ( “triggers” in a controlled environment to help the person gain control of their fears), Group Therapy, and Medication.
How Can Technology Help People With PTSD?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, gene research and brain imaging technologies continue to be developed and improved. Scientists hope that they will be able to pinpoint exactly where in the brain PTSD develops. This knowledge may lead to more targeted treatments and the ability to prevent the disorder before it causes harm. Furthermore, technology aids in the use of Prolonged Exposure Therapy. In the case of veterans, for example, virtual reality programs have been used to help them re-experience the battlefield in a controlled, therapeutic environment.
How Can Nootropics Help People With PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complex condition that requires professional help in many cases. Although nootropics cannot cure the disorder directly, they are able to treat some of its symptoms and lower the stress reactions associated with PTSD. Through stabilizing and promoting healthy blood sugar levels, properly metabolizing dopamine, magnesium therapy (which has the ability to enhance the brain’s ability to mitigate conditioned fear and anxiety responses), and many other benefits, nootropics can be used alongside professional treatment with great success.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition that is complex yet not highly uncommon. It is the result of trauma, such as witnessing war or a fatal car accident, PTSD symptoms can include hypervigilance, vivid nightmares or flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. PTSD can affect people of any age, race, or gender, but some groups are more susceptible than others. There are several effective and tested therapies and treatments, and technology and nootropics can also help manage the symptoms. With proper support and treatment, the disorder can last for only a few months after a traumatic event, but in some people, it may become chronic.
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A friendly reminder: We've done our research, but you should too! Check our sources against your own and always exercise sound judgment.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/ https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd/ https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/blog/ptsd/what-age-group-shows-the-most-ptsdstatistics-on-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/ https://holisticnootropics.com/nootropics-for-ptsd/ Image source: https://www.pexels.com/ by Min An
About The Author
Project Intern for The Hope Project (THP)
Davinia Ibizugbe is a Nigerian writer. She has planned her education around the hopes of becoming a future Neurosurgeon. Her interest in neurology developed early in her life. Davina has a passion for learning about neurological diseases and methods to combat them.