What Contributes to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Learn why you should understand PTSD and how you can help.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that most of us take for granted. One of the main causes of PTSD are shocking events that have most likely unfolded in people’s eyes. It’s important to understand PTSD, as it’s a pressing problem among many.

We may not have experienced or developed PTSD, and we may argue that it’s because we have a stronger willpower, but we need to consider that there are several factors that contribute to the condition. It’s not merely something we can all control, and cases between other people may be different. That’s why it’s essential that we’d be able to comprehend what constitutes post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD affects 20% of the population in the US, resulting from 70% of adults who experience some form of trauma in their lives. Around 24 million Americans have PTSD, with one out of every nine women having the propensity to develop the condition. In a given year, PTSD affects 7.7 million adults. However, it’s not limited to happening during adulthood, as it can also develop during childhood. As such, we can therefore say that PTSD is more common than we think.

One thing we need to note about PTSD is that it’s not usually diagnosed, unless its symptoms last for more than a month, wherein it starts to cause trouble around the person. One PTSD symptom is the sense of re-experiencing the traumatic, even in the patient’s head, which may cause further distress. These events can often feel so real, that patients will not be able to distinguish that it’s not at all happening.

PTSD symptom

Another symptom of PTSD is a defense mechanism where patients try to avoid what caused the traumatic event and numb themselves from the stress they’re experiencing. When this happens, they often lose touch with reality and would have trouble expressing their feelings. This impedes communication with others, which may be detrimental to their social skills, and may impede their goals and aspirations.

PTSD patients are unreasonably alert, seeing every sudden event or instance as a potential danger. They can get irritable, and may have difficulty concentrating. Patients experience sleep deprivation this way, due to the stress they experience from their heightened but irrational alertness.

It’s common to see PTSD patients suffer from depression, anxiety, and guilt. They often resort to alcoholism and substance abuse. Many PTSD patients succumb into drugs, as they see narcotics as a method of coping. As they experience all the aforementioned things, they typically experience turmoil in their personal lives, which can affect their friends, family, and their current employment status.

There are cases where patients turn violent, which may lead to domestic abuse, heinous crimes, and other problems. As such, PTSD patients often have trouble functioning normally in society. Some studies also suggest that the condition can also lead to other mental health problems. However, this is yet to be proven, and may most likely be speculation.

So, how do we treat the condition? For the most part, PTSD treatment requires psychotherapy and medication, as well as support groups. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective way to deal with PTSD, as it teaches you how to cope with stress by keeping your emotions, actions, and thoughts in check. CBT allows patients to use relaxation techniques which they ought to practice on their own.

If you know someone struck with post-traumatic stress disorder, now is the best time to make a move if you want to help them recover.