Myth #: Ptsd Isn’t Treatable
It’s actually quite treatable, even if it isn’t completely curable in everyone. PTSD is frequently treated with drugs, behavioral therapy, and other approaches. Writer P.K. Phillips had PTSD that caused her terrible flashbacks and nightmares and left her unable to sleep alone in her own home. She started taking medication and going through behavioral therapy when she was diagnosed. Now, she says, she has control of her life again.
“For me there is no cure, no final healing. But there are things I can do to ensure that I never have to suffer as I did before being diagnosed with PTSD. I’m no longer at the mercy of my disorder,” she writes.
Several forms of counseling have proven effective in treating PTSD, including talk therapy, exposure therapy, and behavioral therapy. The FDA has also approved two medications to treat PTSD: sertraline and paroxetine . They’re both antidepressants, and can help control emotional symptoms of PTSD like sadness, anger, and anxiety. There’s evidence that meditation can help those with PTSD, as well. Treatments are different for everyone, and sometimes people need to try various combinations to find what works.
Ptsd And Uncontrolled Anger And Aggression
More than any other anxiety disorder, PTSD has been linked to difficulties managing anger and aggression.
Anger, irritability, and severe agitation are symptoms of PTSD frequently seen in military veterans. Studies have shown that veterans with PTSD demonstrate higher levels of anger than veterans without the condition.
One difficulty with anger and PTSD is that anger may interfere with the effectiveness of PTSD treatments, highlighting the importance of early intervention and treatment.
Factors That Can Affect How Long Ptsd Lasts
Post-traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a traumatic or highly stressful event, series of events, and/or long-term trauma. Its most common among survivors of sexual assault, military veterans, people who have been in an accident, or who survived other traumatic experiences.
One of the reasons its difficult to put a timetable on how long PTSD will last is that it affects everyone differently. People also respond very differently to PTSD based on what caused it initially and how theyre wired as a person. Here are some of the trauma-related factors that can impact the length of PTSD.
- If you experienced a single traumatic event or multiple ones
- Was the trauma accidental, or did someone do something to you intentionally?
- The type of trauma you experienced
- If other mental health problems accompany your PTSD
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What Does Ptsd Feel Like
Although experiencing PTSD is different for everyone, some people have noted they experience feeling pain or pressure in their body, even if theres nothing physically there. Experiencing PTSD can also include experiencing the same emotions felt during the traumatic event, such as fear, horror, or distress. Panic attacks, nightmares, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing also can indicate PTSD.
Where To Seek Help
Use the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find mental health treatment facilities and programs in your state.
If youre having thoughts about suicide or are considering hurting yourself, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
If youre a veteran suffering from PTSD, the US Department of Veterans Affairs¹ has a dedicated crisis hotline and psychological care services.
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How To Manage Ptsd
The first steps in managing your PTSD are getting professional help and following your treatment plan.
You can also take the following steps to make treatment more effective:
Engage in activities to reduce stress, such as exercise and mindfulness practices
Try to maintain routines for meals, exercise, and sleep
Spend time with family or friends and make them aware of things that might trigger your PTSD symptoms
Avoid using drugs or alcohol
Physiological Effects Of Untreated Ptsd
The comorbidities for PTSD arent limited to psychological conditions. Physical comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are common in people living with PTSD.
Epidemiological studies have also found a link between PTSD and an increased risk of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. A possible explanation is that the excessive stress associated with PTSD causes systemic inflammation.
Several studies have shown that people living with PTSD have significantly elevated levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. Increased inflammation can also affect cognitive function, and PTSD is associated with impaired verbal memory/learning, working memory, attention, and executive functions.
Neuroimaging has shown that some people with PTSD have structural and functional abnormalities in regions of the brain that control cognitive function, such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
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Getting Professional Help For Ptsd
If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder, its important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is treated, the easier it is to overcome. If youre reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.
Its only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, PTSD will only get worse. You cant escape your emotions completelythey emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guardand trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.
Why you should seek help for PTSD
Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.
Are There Physical Problems That Are Commonly Associated With Ptsd
People with PTSD may also experience physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, fatigue, muscle tension, nausea, joint pain, headaches, back pain or other types of pain. The person in pain may not realize the connection between their pain and a traumatic event. For people with chronic pain, the pain may actually serve as a reminder of the traumatic event, which in turn may intensify PTSD symptoms. Some people who develop PTSD and chronic pain also experience depression and alcohol and prescription medication misuse. Chronic PTSD has been shown to increase the risk of having a variety of health issues and decreased life expectancy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the perception of the lethal threat of the virus has been associated with stress and trauma-related somatic symptoms.
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What Happens If Ptsd Goes Untreated
Some medical conditions can be treated with chicken soup, a few days in bed, and perhaps a course of antibiotics. However, this isnt the case for most psychological conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder .
Without some form of treatment, the symptoms of PTSD will worsen over time, potentially damaging not only your health but also your relationships and your ability to work.
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Do Children React Differently Than Adults
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Symptoms sometimes seen in very young children , these symptoms can include:
- Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
- Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult
Older children and teens are more likely to show symptoms similar to those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
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Is There A Cure For Drug Induced Psychosis
There is no cure for drug-induced psychosis because it is not a disease in the traditional sense. Drug-induced psychosis subsides as the body metabolizes the substance that caused it in the first place however, there are some drugs that can cause psychosis symptoms for days, months, and even years after an individual stops taking them. With heavy use, cocaine, amphetamines, and sometimes alcohol can cause psychosis symptoms that persist well into sobriety.
The Challenge of Co-occurring Disorders
According to a report originally published in JAMA Psychiatry, people who have severe mental health disorders like schizophrenia are more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who do not. Diagnosing co-occurring disorders and devising effective treatment plans are challenging when both of the disorders present with the same symptoms.
The Australia Governments National Drug Strategy suggests that healthcare professionals can distinguish between schizophrenia coupled with substance abuse and drug-induced psychosis alone by monitoring symptoms after an individual finishes the withdrawal stage. They can also look for the existence of prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia, including subtle personality changes, angry outbursts, odd thought patterns, and reclusiveness, prior to substance use.
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Are There Different Types Of Ptsd
If you are given a diagnosis of PTSD, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe PTSD. This explains what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently it’s not a description of how frightening or upsetting your experiences might have been.
PTSD may be described differently in some situations:
- Delayed-onset PTSD. If your symptoms emerge more than six months after experiencing trauma, this might be described as ‘delayed PTSD’ or ‘delayed-onset PTSD’.
- Complex PTSD. If you experienced trauma at an early age or it lasted for a long time, you might be given a diagnosis of ‘complex PTSD’. See our page on complex PTSD for more information.
- Birth trauma. PTSD that develops after a traumatic experience of childbirth is also known as ‘birth trauma’. See our page on PTSD and birth trauma for more information.
If you experience some PTSD symptoms while supporting someone close to you who’s experienced trauma, this is sometimes known as secondary trauma.
See our pages on trauma for more information on how traumatic experiences can affect your mental health.
I couldn’t understand why I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning I couldn’t remember things, I couldn’t process things. It was like my brain had just slowed down and ground to a halt.
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Does Trauma Always Cause Ptsd
No. Going through trauma does not always cause PTSD. Most kids and teens who go through a trauma will not get PTSD.
But most of them will feel the effects of trauma. Its normal to react to a deeply stressful event. Most will have upset feelings, thoughts of the trauma, and other signs of distress. This may last for a short while, sometimes days or weeks. With comfort, listening, and support, most can find ways to cope with what theyve been through.
PTSD develops when a trauma overwhelms a childs ability to cope. Kids and teens with PTSD need extra help to move through the coping process.
Things that affect whether someone develops PTSD after a trauma include:
- how severe the trauma was
- how quickly they get help and support
- a past history of trauma
- inherited risks like family history of depression and anxiety
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Team
- Tell them about the symptoms that are bothering you the most. Ask, “Do you think I could have PTSD? If not, what else could be causing this?
- What do you recommend to help relieve my symptoms?
- How long can I expect to have the symptoms? Can they be treated?
- Do I need to take medication? Are there other things I can do?
- Can I talk with a counselor about my symptoms?
- Do you know of a support group for people with my type of cancer or treatment? Or can you help me find one?
This information was originally published at .
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What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In Children
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental health problem. It can affect people of all ages. A child with PTSD keeps having scary thoughts and memories of a past event. He or she finds the event terrifying, either physically or emotionally.
The symptoms of PTSD may start soon after a stressful event. Or they may not happen for 6 months or longer. Some children with PTSD have long-term effects. They may feel emotionally numb for a very long time. PTSD in children often becomes a long-term problem.
PTSD may be accompanied by:
Consequences Of Forgoing Bipolar Disorder Treatment
The National Alliance of Mental Health has reported that there are serious risks in deciding not to treat diagnosed bipolar disorder. Some of the consequences that can occur with untreated bipolar disorder include:
- Having more severe episodes of mania and/or depression
- Displaying risky behaviors, taking dangerous chances
- Extreme changes in energy, activity level, sleep
- Partaking in excessive drinking, drug abuse
- Greater risk of suicidal ideation
- Experience long lasting periods of unstable moods
- Suffer from higher death rates from cancer, heart disease or stroke
- Symptoms become more pronounced and debilitating
- Increased involvement in illegal substances
- Periods of irrational behaviors
About one-half of all people who have bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness do not receive treatment. While bipolar disorder is a chronic lifelong condition, treatment is effective and frees those from harsh unrelenting episodes of mania and/or depression. Untreated bipolar disorder will display symptoms and behaviors that worsen, becoming more pronounced over time.
A Bipolar Disorder Psychiatrist in Atlanta is a Phone Call Away
Proper diagnosis and treatment is just a phone call away. If you suffer from recurring mood swings and episodes of mania or depression and find it increasingly difficult to manage your life, friends, family or work, call for a confidential appointment and expert diagnosis. Make the call that can change your life for the better.
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Factors Influencing The Duration Of Ptsd
How long PTSD lasts depends on multiple factors. Some relate to the trauma itself, while others relate to the person and his/her life.
Trauma-related factors that impact the duration of PTSD include:
- Multiple or chronic trauma experiences vs. a single traumatic event
- Intentional trauma vs. accidental trauma
- Human-induced trauma vs. natural disasters/traumas
- Sexual assault vs. traumatic event not sexual in nature
Experiencing multiple traumas tends to make PTSD last longer, as do repetitive traumas, intentional traumas, human-induced traumas, and sexual assaults.
Person- and life-related factors that impact the duration of PTSD include:
- History of other traumatic experiences
- Living with other mental health challenges
In general, PTSD lasts longer in people who have experienced other traumatic events in the past, have current or past mental health difficulties, use fewer coping skills, and have little social support.
How Long Do Ptsd Triggers Last
Your symptoms can come and go when you have post-traumatic stress disorder . Its possible you feel fine until you see an image or hear a noise that reminds you of your past trauma. Triggers make it even more challenging to manage your PTSD because they can set off a chain of emotions and events in your mind.
Certain triggers will bring back strong memories and activate your PTSD instantly. These episodes can make you feel like youre reliving the trauma all over again. Triggers include sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that remind you of your traumatic event in some way. Understanding triggers better, how long they last, and how to cope with them can help you to avoid future suffering.
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Tip : Take Care Of Your Health
Its true: having a healthy body can increase your ability to cope with the stress of trauma.
Get plenty of sleep. After a traumatic experience, worry or fear may disturb your sleep patterns. But a lack of quality sleep can exacerbate your trauma symptoms and make it harder to maintain your emotional balance. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Avoid alcohol and drugs. Their use can worsen your trauma symptoms and increase feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. Avoid sugary and fried foods and eat plenty of omega-3 fatssuch as salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseedsto give your mood a boost.
Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy such as your favorite hobbies.
Can Caregivers Get Ptsd
Yes, PTSD can also affect caregivers. Learning that a loved one has cancer, seeing them in pain, and going through a medical emergency can cause trauma. A caregiver may develop PTSD during the treatment period. Or they may develop it afterwards, even years later.
One study found that almost 1 in 5 families with teenage cancer survivors had a parent with PTSD. Research also shows that parents of children receiving cancer treatment often develop stress-related symptoms.
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