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What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Ptsd

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Flashbacks And Panic: Signs Of Re

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD), Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Everyday occurrences can trigger memories of the traumatic event. When the brain becomes reminded of the trauma, survivors of PTSD may re-experience the event itself, as if it were occurring in the present. Flashbacks cause the survivor to have a waking, conscious and often sensory experience of the traumatic episode, usually accompanied by visual or auditory immersions.

Intrusive thoughts can also represent the re-experiencing of trauma, as the survivors natural efforts to switch mental focus or block the experience fail. Another sign of re-experiencing trauma in PTSD is extreme psychological stress when triggers occur.

He or she may even experience physical sensations of re-experiencing, such as muscles freezing, profuse sweating, racing pulse or heartbeat, yelling, or running away when psychological or physical cues trigger the traumatic event.

Finally, persistent nightmares represent re-experiencing the trauma and in some cases, nightmares that cause the survivor to relive the event can be as traumatic as flashbacks.

Aging Veterans And Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms

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For many Veterans, memories of their wartime experiences can still be upsetting long after they served in combat. If you are an older Veteran, you may have served many years ago, but your military experience can still affect your life today. Here are some ways that past military experience can affect you as you get older.

The PTSD will hit you hardest when you retire or you’re not occupied all the time.

Louis Bickford

What Is The Treatment For Ptsd

Treatment for PTSD includes: 

  • Watchful waiting
  • If PTSD symptoms have been present for less than 4 weeks or are mild, patients may be advised to wait to see if things improve
  • A follow-up appointment is recommended within one month
  • Counseling/psychotherapy
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy , a form of cognitive behavioral therapy specifically adapted for PTSD, which may include:
  • Exposure therapy is used to help people face and control fears by gradually exposing them to the trauma they experienced in a safe way
  • Cognitive restructuring can help patients make sense of bad memories and look at what happened realistically
  • Seeking safety, in which people learn coping skills such as relaxation and mindfulness to deal with intense emotions
  • Dialectical behavior therapy , which gives patients new skills to cope with painful emotions
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • Helps to reduce PTSD symptoms such as being easily startled and involves making rhythmic eye movements while recalling the traumatic event
  • Rapid eye movements are meant to create a similar effect to the way the brain processes memories and experiences when sleeping
  • Art therapy 
  • Medications 
  • Not a first-line treatment but may be used in patients who also suffer from other conditions such as depression, sleep problems, or other mental health issues
  • Read Also: How To Deal With Someone With Ptsd

    Outlook For People With Ptsd

    If you have PTSD or suspect you have PTSD, seeking help from a professional can help.

    If left untreated, PTSD can affect your relationships and impact daily life. It can make it difficult to work, study, eat, or sleep. It may also lead to suicidal thoughts.

    Fortunately, its possible to find effective treatments that reduce or even stop many of the symptoms of PTSD.

    Every person has different needs and needs a unique treatment plan. What works for one person might not work for another. Ideally, your healthcare provider will help you find effective coping tools and therapies to manage your PTSD symptoms.

    Ptsd; Causes Symptoms And Treatments

    Causes of PTSD explained

    Edited by: Fauzia Haque, Editor; Eve Nevelos, Editor in Chief

    Every single person has likely experienced a stressful event at least once in their lives. Whether the experience was a math exam, a minor car accident or even a competitive sports game, everyone faces stressful times. However, these events do not cause PTSD. On the other hand, there are also traumatic events that can cause PTSD. Traumatic events are experiences that cause high levels of stress and anxiety. They usually involve physical, mental, or psychological harm. The Recovery Village reports that around 70% of all adults in the U.S. face at least one traumatic event in their lives. Some traumatic events are so severe that they can cause mental disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder . PTSD is a mental disorder that develops in individuals who have faced at least one traumatic event. It is often stereotypically associated with soldiers, since many army members who were part of battles develop it. For this reason, many individuals believe that PTSD only affects soldiers and those who were impacted by wars. However, PTSD is not just caused by war. It is important for one to understand the types of events that cause PTSD, as well as its symptoms and treatment in order to be able to potentially help those who develop it.




    Generally, the two major types of treatments for PTSD are psychotherapy and medications; sometimes a mix of both or just one treatment may be necessary.

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    What Are Ptsd Causes

    Aspen : So let’s just talk about PTSD. And how does someone get PTSD? How does it work? What is it?

    Dr. Merchant: Good question. So we actually at this point, don’t have a firm understanding of the actual pathophysiology or meaning of the process that it takes. Or why some people get it when exposed to this thing that other people can. But then again, I guess it’s the same as with depression or anxiety. Why are some people more predisposed to things than others? But typical triggers aren’t really that surprising. So a significant number is, for example, combat veterans. Even people who actually haven’t been in the line of fire or in a situation where they witnessed gruesome deaths in front of them or bad injuries but even just the thought of being someplace that is dangerous can provoke, can be a trigger for it in some folks.

    Who Is At Risk For Post

    You can develop PTSD at any age. Many risk factors play a part in whether you will develop PTSD. They include

    • Your sex; women are more likely to develop PTSD
    • Having had trauma in childhood
    • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
    • Going through a traumatic event that lasts a long time
    • Having little or no social support after the event
    • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home
    • Having a history of mental illness or substance use

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    Supporting Someone With Ptsd

    Research has shown that support from family and friends is important in helping someone overcome the debilitating effects of PTSD. Couples or family therapy can help to fix damaged relationships. In some cases, family members may need to seek support of their own.

    For detailed information on the most effective treatments for PTSD, see The Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

    Take The Next Step To Connect With Care

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – causes, symptoms, treatment & pathology

    Every day, Veterans from all military service branches and eras connect with proven resources and effective treatments. Heres how to take the next step: the one thats right for you.

    Read VA’s latest coronavirus information. If you have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, please call before you visit your local medical center or clinic. If you have an appointment, consider making it a telehealth appointment.

    New to VA? Apply for health care benefits.

    • Getting started is simple. Create a free account online to help ease your enrollment process. To prepare to apply for VA health care in person, by telephone, or by mail, explore VAs How to Apply page.
    • Not sure whether you are eligible for VA health care benefits? Read about eligibility for VA health care.
    • Unsure of what kind of help you need? Call 1-877-222-VETS to find the right resources to meet your needs, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: .
    • Veterans family members and caregivers can see whether they qualify for VA medical benefits as a spouse, surviving spouse, dependent child, or caregiver. Explore family and caregiver health benefits. 

    Already enrolled in VA and interested in mental health support? Schedule a mental health appointment.

    What about other options at VA? VA offers a variety of tools and resources.  

    What about support beyond VA?

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    When To Seek Medical Advice

    It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but in most people these improve naturally over a few weeks.

    You should visit your GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or the symptoms are particularly troublesome.

    Your GP will want to discuss your symptoms with you in as much detail as possible.

    They’ll ask whether you have experienced a traumatic event in the recent or distant past and whether you have re-experienced the event through flashbacks or nightmares.

    Your GP can refer you to mental health specialists if they feel you’d benefit from treatment.

    Information For Carers Friends And Relatives

    If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.

    How can I get support?

    You can do the following.

    • Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
    • Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
    • Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
    • Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
    • Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.

    What is a carers assessment?

    A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role.

    To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.

    How do I get support from my peers?

    You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.

    How can I support the person I care for?

    You can do the following.

    • Read information about PTSD.
    • Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
    • Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
    • Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
    • Help them to manage their finances.

    You can find out more about:

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    Treatment For Children And Teenagers With Ptsd

    For children and teenagers who are struggling to recover after a traumatic event, the recommended treatment is trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy . This treatment involves:

    • learning about the type of traumatic event experienced and common reactions to trauma
    • teaching how to relax and manage anxiety
    • helping to create a coherent story of the traumatic event, and correct any unhelpful beliefs about the event such as self-blame
    • gradual exposure to trauma-related objects or situations that are feared or avoided
    • helping to get back into everyday activities.

    How Is Ptsd Treated

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Many people have some symptoms of PTSD in the first couple of weeks after a traumatic event, but most recover on their own or with the help of family and friends.

    For people whose symptoms last longer, PTSD is treated with psychotherapy or sometimes medicine, or both. Everyone’s PTSD is different, so if you have PTSD you might need to try a few different types of treatment before you find something that works for you.

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    When To Get Help For Ptsd

    If youre experiencing symptoms of PTSD, understand that youre not alone. According to the National Center for PTSD, 8 million adults have PTSD in any given year.

    If you have frequent upsetting thoughts, are unable to control your actions, or fear that you might hurt yourself or others, seek help right away.

    See your healthcare provider or a mental health professional immediately.

    How Our Helpline Works

    For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

    We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.

    Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

    For more information on AACs commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page.

    If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.

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    What Can You Do To Find Help

    If you are having a hard time dealing with your wartime memories, there are a number of things that you can do to help yourself. There are also ways you can seek help from others.

    • Do things to feel strong and safe in other parts of your life, like exercising, eating well, and volunteering.
    • Talk to a friend who has been through the war or other hard times. A good friend who understands and cares is often the best medicine.
    • Join a support group. It can help to be a part of a group. Some groups focus on war memories. Others focus on the here and now. Still others focus on learning ways to relax.
    • Talk to a professional. It may be helpful to talk to someone who is trained and experienced in dealing with aging and PTSD. There are proven, effective treatments for PTSD. Your doctor can refer you to a therapist. You can also find information on PTSD treatment within VA at: VA PTSD Treatment Programs.
    • Tell your family and friends about LOSS and PTSD. It can be very helpful to talk to others as you try to place your long-ago wartime experiences into perspective. It may also be helpful for others to know what may be the source of your anger, nerves, sleep, or memory problems. Then they can provide more support.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most of all, try not to feel bad or embarrassed to ask for help. Asking for help when you need it is a sign of wisdom and strength.

    Learn about and manage PTSD symptoms.

    Get help for PTSD

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    Kinds Of Ptsd Triggers

    Post traumatic stress disorder Symptoms â Causes Signs and Symptoms of PTSD disorder

    We tend to think of soldiers with PTSD and how war is what triggers PTSD. But Dr. Merchant points out that PTSD in rape victims is common as well. Warning: some of this may be difficult to read.

    Dr. Merchant: One thing that’s been kind of surprising to me though, and it’s only just from having more and more experience, unfortunately. Well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. I mean, it’s a very rewarding thing to work with PTSD patients. But it’s also quite sad to see how many people suffer from this on an ongoing basis. And from what I’ve seen in thisI don’t pretend to make it represent statistically what is out there in the country. But from what I’ve seen, it’s actually been, I would say less than a third of the patients that I see have PTSD from things like military service or combat experience.

    I’ve seen far more people, unfortunately, over the last few months who have been victims of kidnappings, rapes and as disgusting and depressing as it is, unfortunately at the hands of people who are very close. I’ve had people who said my brother’s best friend, my uncle, my father. I had somebody even say, I was raped several times a week for 10 years straight. 

    Aspen : That’s so hard. It’s even hard to hear.

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    Treatment For Ptsd In Children

    PTSD treatment may vary depending on a childs age, symptoms, severity, and health status. However, early treatment can ease the symptoms and aid in the childs normal development and improve their quality of life. The following treatments are often recommended for children with PTSD.

    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy to help a child handle their anxiety and overcome the event that triggered PTSD
    • Medications for children who have anxiety or depression due to PTSD. Psychiatric medications may help them stay calmer.

    Children with PTSD may recover within six months, and a few may experience symptoms for a longer time. Recovery may depend on individual factors such as coping skills, inner strength, and family encouragement and support.

    Negative Changes In Thinking And Mood

    Trauma can shape peoples overall demeanor and moods. We all feel sad from time to time. But, after a traumatic event, people can begin to decline in overall happiness and attitude. These can show as: 

    • Depression
    • Brain fog or Memory problems
    • Becoming distant from loved ones
    • Feeling exhausted when trying to be positive
    • Not being able to feel anything, or feeling numb

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    What Risks Are Associated With Ptsd

    Alcohol and drug use

    You might use drugs or alcohol to help you to manage your symptoms.

    Drugs or alcohol can make you more unwell and more likely to try and harm yourself or take your own life.

    Mental health conditions

    Symptoms of PTSD can be made worse by other disorders such as:

    • depression
    • substance abuse, and
    • memory problems

    Most people with PTSD will have at least 1 other mental health condition. The most common disorders are:

    • depressive disorders,
    • substance use disorders, and
    • anxiety disorders.

    Other mental health conditions have the some of the same symptoms as PTSD. This may be why PTSD is hard to diagnose.

    Suicidal thoughts and behaviours

    In severe cases PTSD can last long enough and have a large impact on day to day life. This can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

    Physical health issues

    PTSD has been linked to physical symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus and blurry vision.

    It has also been linked to physical illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

    You can find more information about:

    Drugs, alcohol and mental health by clicking here.Depression by clicking here.Suicidal feelings How to cope by clicking here.

    Symptoms And Signs Of Ptsd In Men

    How To Treat Post

    To receive a PTSD diagnosis, the NIMH says a mental health professional must confirm that youve experienced the following symptoms for at least a month:

    • At least one intrusive or re-experiencing symptom, such as flashbacks, reliving the traumatic events, bad dreams, or persistent thoughts about the traumatic event.
    • At least one avoidance behavior where you take steps to avoid potential triggers that could remind you of the traumatic event. This can also include changing your daily routine.
    • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms, such as frequently feeling on edge or on high alert, and having trouble managing your day-to-day tasks.
    • At least two cognition and mood symptoms. For example, you might have strong feelings of guilt or personal blame for what happened, lose interest in activities that you used to enjoy, and be unable to remember significant details about the traumatic event.

    In particular, men with PTSD often experience more difficulty controlling their anger and regulating their mood, compared to women with PTSD.

    Substance use is more often seen in men with PTSD compared to women, as is withdrawal from friends and family.

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    Next Steps For Ptsd Research

    In the last decade, progress in research on the mental and biological foundations of PTSD has lead scientists to focus on better understanding the underlying causes of why people experience a range of reactions to trauma.

    • NIMH-funded researchers are exploring trauma patients in acute care settings to better understand the changes that occur in individuals whose symptoms improve naturally.
    • Other research is looking at how fear memories are affected by learning, changes in the body, or even sleep.
    • Research on preventing the development of PTSD soon after trauma exposure is also under way.
    • Other research is attempting to identify what factors determine whether someone with PTSD will respond well to one type of intervention or another, aiming to develop more personalized, effective, and efficient treatments.
    • As gene research and brain imaging technologies continue to improve, scientists are more likely to be able to pinpoint when and where in the brain PTSD begins. This understanding may then lead to better targeted treatments to suit each persons own needs or even prevent the disorder before it causes harm.

    Recap: What Causes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    • Theres no firm understanding of why some people experience PTSD and others do not. 
    • In Dr. Merchants experience, soldier PTSD is common, but sexual assault and continued abuse is a prevalent cause as well.
    • Other situations that may cause PTSD include witnessing gruesome death or having your quality of life decreased by an illness or condition.
    • Lack of health care or doctors that you dont mesh with can negatively affect PTSD patients.
    • PTSD can cause psychological and physical symptoms. 

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    Related Conditions And Causes Of Ptsd

    People with PTSD, especially those who have experienced repeated trauma, can develop other mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, and even other physical ailments, such as chronic pain, according to previously published research. If someone already had a vulnerability to develop a mood disorder, experiencing trauma could really trigger a full-blown major depressive episode, Pole says.

    Substance use disorders, traumatic brain injuries , and neurocognitive disorders are also common comorbidities of PTSD.

    Previous research also indicates a strong connection between PTSD and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure , high cholesterol, and obesity. PTSD could also increase the risk for stroke. Chronic stress may increase your heart rate and place added stress on your vascular system, which could in turn explain such links.

    There are also possible links between PTSD and cancer. While previous research found no significant risk for cancer in general, one study published in October 2019 in Cancer Research found an increased risk of ovarian cancer in premenopausal women.

    Other related conditions to PTSD include:

    • Anxiety disorders

    Causes Symptoms And Risks

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder explained (PTSD)- causes, symptoms and treatment

    PTSD is caused by experiencing or witnessing single, repeated or multiple events. For example:

    • serious accidents
    • physical and sexual assault abuse. This could include childhood or domestic abuse
    • work-related exposure to trauma. Such as being in the army
    • trauma related to serious health problems or childbirth
    • war and conflict torture

    Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD.

    The risk of getting PTSD depends on how the experience affects you. PTSD is more likely to develop if the traumatic event:

    • is unexpected,
    • Self help

    How can the NHS help me?

    You can speak to your GP about your concerns. They will be able to talk to you about treatment options and coping strategies. You dont have to do what your GP thinks that you should do. But you should listen to them.

    Make sure that you understand the pros and cons of your treatment options before you make a decision.

    Your treatment with be managed by your GP or the community mental health team . In some cases, your treatment maybe shared between both primary and secondary care. Healthcare professionals will agree who will monitor you.

    Some people will get care under the Care Programme Approach . This means that you will have a care plan and care coordinator to make sure that you get the support that you need.

    Look at the following section for more information on NHS treatment.

    Adult social services

    What other help is available?

    There may be a different service available, such as employment or isolation support.

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