How Do I Know If I Have Ptsd
To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must fit the following description:
Youve experienced trauma.
Youve had symptoms for at least one month.
Your symptoms interfere with your daily life.
Your symptoms arent caused by substance use.
Your symptoms arent caused by another medical problem.
You must also have at least six different PTSD symptoms.
What Does The Research Say
Research from 2016 reviewed multiple studies exploring the link between bipolar disorder and childhood trauma. Researchers concluded that trauma didnt just increase bipolar disorder risk. It also seemed to lead to more severe symptoms, including suicidal thoughts or attempts.
In a nationwide study from 2016 , researchers used the Danish Civil Registration System to explore potential links between bipolar disorder, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and a diagnosis of PTSD or acute stress reaction.
Their findings suggest that people diagnosed with traumatic stress had a higher risk of developing bipolar disorder or schizophrenia spectrum disorders. This risk seemed to be highest during the first year following a traumatic stress diagnosis, but it stayed high for over 5 years. Researchers also noted that the link didnt relate to a family history of either condition.
Of course, as other research points out, the link could run in the other direction, too. People often feel more impulsive than usual during manic episodes. This impulsivity can lead you to take risks that might put you in danger or cause other harm, such as:
- driving too fast
- trying an extreme sport with taking safety precautions
- getting in a fight with your boss
These experiences can cause lasting trauma when they have a negative outcome, for you or anyone else.
Who Is Most Likely To Get Ptsd
You can get PTSD from any type of personal experience. This could mean:
Being directly involved in a traumatic experience
Hearing about something that happened to a friend, family member, or stranger
Seeing something upsetting on the news, internet, or social media
Being repeatedly exposed to trauma while at work
Experiencing trauma in your community
Examples of common traumatic experiences include:
After experiencing trauma, certain groups of people are more likely to get PTSD. You have a higher risk for PTSD if you are:
You might also be more likely to get PTSD if you have an experience where you feel especially helpless, or are afraid that you might die. You may also be more at risk for PTSD if you dont have good social support after a traumatic event.
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Religious And Other Cultural Contexts
Dreams figure prominently in major world religions. The dream experience for early humans, according to one interpretation, gave rise to the notion of a human “,” a central element in much religious thought. wrote:
But there can be no reasonable doubt that the idea of a soul must have first arisen in the mind of primitive man as a result of observation of his dreams. Ignorant as he was, he could have come to no other conclusion but that, in dreams, he left his sleeping body in one universe and went wandering off into another. It is considered that, but for that savage, the idea of such a thing as a ‘soul’ would never have even occurred to mankind….
Treating Ptsd And Adhd Symptoms
What if both conditions are present? How can such divergent treatment plans ever be pulled together in the same client? Think of it like a four-legged table. All the legs have to touch the ground at the same time, or the table will tip over. With treatment, we have to hit all issues with medication and psychotherapy simultaneously, or our client may not get better but worse.
Treating the ADHD side of the equation allows a client to be more active in and present for their trauma treatment. Using behavioral therapy to create routines and reduce vulnerabilities improves both disorders. Treating ADHD can also reduce sleep difficulties associated with PTSD. Assessing for and treating both disorders is the most effective approach to managing these life-altering diagnoses.
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Treatment Of Complex Ptsd
Because the DSM-5 does not currently provide specific diagnostic criteria for C-PTSD, its possible to be diagnosed with PTSD when C-PTSD may be a more accurate assessment of your symptoms. Despite the complexity and severity of the disorder, C-PTSD can be treated with many of the same strategies as PTSD, including:
How To Find Help
If you have depression, PTSD, or both, treatment can help. To figure out whatâs wrong, start with your doctor. They may begin with a physical exam and rule out any other health problems. Then they may ask about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Or they might send you to a counselor.
You have many options for treatment. Prescription medicines and talk therapy can work well. Some treatments can help with depression and PTSD at the same time. For example, a counselor can help you let go of negative thoughts and habits, and put positive ones in their place.
If you feel so low that you think about killing yourself, get help right away. Call a doctor or counselor, or talk to a loved one or minister. If you or someone near you might be in immediate danger, call 911 or a crisis line right away. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK .
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Diagnostic And Statistical Manual
PTSD was classified as an anxiety disorder in the DSM-IV, but has since been reclassified as a “trauma- and stressor-related disorder” in the DSM-5. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD include four symptom clusters: re-experiencing, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition/mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity.
Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Trauma Disorders
The symptoms of trauma and stress disorders that affect adults are similar. PTSD typically causes the most severe and longest-lasting symptoms, while ASD and adjustment disorders are less severe. Symptoms of PTSD can set in within a month of a traumatic event or may not appear for years later. They last longer than a month and cause significant impairment. PTSD symptoms are grouped into four clusters:
- Intrusions: recurring and distressing memories, nightmares, flashbacks
- Avoidance: avoiding situations or people that trigger memories of trauma, and avoiding talking about it
- Negative thoughts or mood: negative thoughts about the world or oneself, hopelessness, lack of positive emotions, lack of interest in activities, emotional numbness, withdrawal from friends and family
- Reactions: startling or scaring easily, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, self-destructive behaviors, being on guard, angry or aggressive outbursts
To be diagnosed with acute stress disorder, the trauma-related symptoms must last between three days and one month. If they persist longer it is not considered ASD but may be diagnosed as PTSD. Another difference between ASD and PTSD is that a diagnosis of PTSD must include at least one symptom from each cluster, while ASD may cause any combination of the symptoms:
- Intrusive memories
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Coping With Complex Ptsd
Treatments for complex PTSD can take time, so it is important to find ways to manage and cope with the symptoms of the condition. Some strategies that may help you manage your recovery:
- Find support: Like PTSD, complex PTSD often leads people to withdraw from friends and family. However, having a strong social support network is important for mental well-being. When you are feeling overwhelmed, angry, anxious, or fearful, reach out to a trusted friend or family member.
- Practice mindfulness: Complex PTSD can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Mindfulness is a strategy that can help you become more aware of what you are feeling in the moment and combat feelings of distress. This practice involves learning ways to focus on the present moment.
- Write down your thoughts: Research has found that writing in a journal can be helpful in managing PTSD symptoms and decreases symptoms of flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares. In terms of treatment, a journal can also be a great way to track symptoms that you can later discuss with your therapist.
Support groups and self-help books can also be helpful when dealing with complex PTSD. Helpful book titles include “The Body Keeps Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, MD, and “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving” by Pete Walker.
A Common Treatment For Both Cptsd And Ptsd
While there are many differences in the treatment of complex post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, one is common to both. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, is useful for treating both disorders and many others.
EMDR helps people to heal from CPTSD by using certain eye movements and a procedure to deal with the emotions and flashbacks that may occur while in treatment.
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Treatment For Complex Ptsd
Because complex PTSD is a relatively new diagnosis, mental health professionals are still working on treatment options. There are still some options that may help.
- Talk therapy to help process the trauma
- Medication such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications
- Exposure therapy in which subjects face their memories in a safe space
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy , which addresses thought patterns
Some therapists use a relatively new therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing . It may be helpful for complex PTSD too. In EMDR, the subject remembers a trauma while following a bilateral stimulus that leads to a back-and-forth eye movement. The stimulus could be one they see such as a finger moving back and forth or a sound. EMDR is effective for PTSD, but experts debate if the bilateral stimulation is really important or if the process could happen without it.
Children And Young People
For children and young people with PTSD, trauma-focused CBT is usually recommended.
This normally involves a course of 8-12 sessions that have been adapted to suit the childs age, circumstances and level of development. Where appropriate, treatment includes consulting with and involving the child’s family.
Treatment with medication isn’t usually recommended for children and young people with PTSD.
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Symptoms Of Complex Ptsd
- Difficulty controlling emotions. It’s common for someone suffering from C-PTSD to lose control over their emotions, which can manifest as explosive anger, persistent sadness, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
- Negative self-view. C-PTSD can cause a person to view themselves in a negative light. They may feel helpless, guilty, or ashamed. They often have a sense of being completely different from other people.
- Difficulty with relationships. Relationships may suffer due to difficulties trusting others and a negative self-view. A person with C-PTSD may avoid relationships or develop unhealthy relationships because that is what they knew in the past.
- Detachment from the trauma. A person may disconnect from themselves and the world around them . Some people might even forget their trauma.
- Loss of a system of meanings. This can include losing one’s core beliefs, values, religious faith, or hope in the world and other people.
All of these symptoms can be life-altering and cause significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of life.
Similar Symptoms But A Different Approach To Treatment
Although several disorders have similar symptoms to BPD, they may require a different approach to treatment. The most effective treatment for BPD is psychotherapy, while other forms of mental illness may focus primarily on medication. Dialectical behavior therapy was developed to treat people with BPD to help them reduce self-destructive behaviors and control intense emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy may also help people with BPD reduce symptoms of mood swings as well as self-harming behavior.
In order to obtain effective treatment for BPD or other forms of mental illness, its important to get an accurate diagnosis. If your symptoms havent been brought under control by the current approach to treatment, you may have been misdiagnosed. Pay attention to how you are feeling and let your mental health professional know what symptoms you are experiencing.
If you or a loved one are struggling with the symptoms of BPD or another mental illness, please contact us at or submit the form below and a treatment specialist will contact you.
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Which Comes First: Adhd Or Ptsd
Currently, research on the overlap of ADHD and PTSD is minimal. However, we can speculate that PTSD might cause ADHD, particularly in children. Once traumatized, a person may eventually meet the criteria for ADHD, even though ADHD was not present in his or her early development. This is because PTSD rewires and affects the development of a growing brain, stunting the growth of areas that deal with emotional regulation, impulse control, and self-awareness. This is also how ADHD develops but for different reasons. The difference lies in the reason for that impact, or what is called the etiology.
ADHD cannot cause PTSD, although people with ADHD are more prone to high-risk behavior, relational problems, and negative habits of self-medicating, leaving them more vulnerable to traumatic events. Additionally, children with ADHD can be difficult to manage, raising their risk of abuse from a caregiver. But these examples are indirect social effects of the disorder, not the direct, physical impact of trauma on brain functioning.
What Is Complex Ptsd
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder , is an anxiety condition that involves many of the same symptoms of PTSD along with other symptoms.
First recognized as a condition that affects war veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by any number of traumatic events, such as a car accident, natural disaster, near-death experience, or other isolated acts of violence or abuse.
When the underlying trauma is repeated and ongoing, however, some mental health professionals make a distinction between PTSD and its more intense sibling, complex PTSD .
Complex PTSD has gained attention in the years since it was first described in the late 1980s. However, it is important to note that it is not recognized as a distinct condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition , the tool that mental health professionals use to diagnose mental health conditions.
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Acute Stress Disorder Vs Ptsd Similarities And Differences
If you or a loved one is going through or has recently gone through a difficult life event, you may be wondering how it can impact your emotional health. Major life events can significantly impact your emotional health but knowing about how this happens and what might be happening can be important, especially while pursuing treatment or debating pursuing treatment.
Here we’ll talk about PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder – two emotional health problems that can arise from difficult life events. That means talking about both conditions individually, how they’re similar, how they’re different, and what diagnosis and treatment look like for each.
In the end, it will be up to your healthcare team – not you and not this article – to determine how difficult life events have impacted your emotional health and what to do about it. However, this article will hopefully give you some information and direction that you can use in approaching your healthcare team about your emotional health.
Overview Of Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder is a condition with early onset after experiencing trauma. This condition is diagnosed when someone has acute stress reactions starting no less than 3 days after trauma and no more than 4 weeks.
ASD, therefore, occurs in people who experience severe effects from trauma close to the time of the incident.
- An ASD diagnosis can occur within the first month after trauma. For a diagnosis of PTSD, symptoms must have lasted at least 1 month.
- PTSD symptoms are organized into clusters. Someone must experience a specific number of symptoms within several clusters. An ASD diagnosis requires only a specific number of symptoms overall, without regard to clusters.
- PTSD diagnosis includes more severe changes in mood and cognition, while ASD does not.
If you have ASD, it is possible to later develop PTSD, according to the DVA. But not everyone with ASD will also have PTSD, and someone with PTSD might not have gone through ASD.
A 2018 review concluded that ASD alone could not predict PTSD.
According to the American Psychiatric Association , about half of people with ASD later experience PTSD.
ASD and PTSD have similar symptoms, and they both arise in response to trauma. The possible symptoms of both include:
If youre unsure whether youre experiencing PTSD, you can take our PTSD quiz to find out.
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Can Someone Have Both Bpd And Ptsd
Its thought that between 25% and 60% of people with BPD also have PTSD. This could be because living with a mood disorder can both increase the risk of experiencing a traumatic situation, and make it more likely that experiencing a traumatic event leads to PTSD.
When someone has both conditions, the symptoms tend to be worse than if they had BPD or PTSD alone. PTSD can increase the likelihood of dissociative, intrusive and suicidal thoughts in people with BPD. Thats why its so important to get the correct diagnosis.
Other Effects Of Ptsd
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you might also find that you have difficulty with some everyday aspects of your life, such as:
- looking after yourself
- remembering things and making decisions
- your sex drive
- coping with change
- simply enjoying your leisure time.
If you drive you may have to tell the DVLA that you have PTSD. For more information on your right to drive, including when and how to contact the DVLA, see our legal pages on fitness to drive.
“My behaviour changed and became erratic. I would alternate from wanting to shut myself away and not see or talk to anyone to going out to parties in the middle of the week and staying out late.”
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