Throughout our lives, we face traumatic events and experiences. Many people recover from this and go on with their lives as if nothing had happened; but some others develop a mental disorder known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a mental disorder that develops after experiencing traumatic situations that have a high impact on a person that persists for more than a month. Among the situations that could trigger it we can find the following:
This term was adopted after the Vietnam War (1955-1975), when many American veterans began to develop symptoms of “shell shock”, or war neurosis, however, this was initially seen as a sign of weakness. It was until the 80’s, that thanks to the diagnosis of many soldiers, it began to be taken seriously and was renamed PTSD.
Who can have PTSD?
It is important to remember that PTSD may also affect people who have witnessed one of the situations mentioned above, who may suffer from PTSD without having experienced the traumatic event directly. For example:
When someone suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after a traumatic experience, their brain changes. The amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for fear, becomes particularly active, which makes people remain stuck “danger mode” permanently
Post-traumatic stress disorder also causes the hippocampus to shrink. Memory is controlled by the hippocampus, so you may start having trouble remembering things if you do not treat PTSD.
While everyone’s experience with PTSD is different, there are six main symptoms that can help identify when someone has developed PTSD:
Identifying yourself with the above list may mean you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, however, only a professional can diagnose you with this mental disorder. If you suspect you may have it, contact a psychiatrist who will be able to follow up on you.
Unfortunately, this is a disorder that can affect several aspects of a person’s daily life, which goes hand in hand with the behaviors people with PTSD adopt.
Although Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has no cure, there is a way to reduce its symptoms, and the treatment for it seeks to help the patient regain a sense of control over their emotions and, consequently, their lives.
The first step is to identify that you need help. Unfortunately, many times people think that the symptoms of PTSD will go away over time, when the truth is that they might worsen if untreated.
The most common way to treat PTSD is through Trauma-Focused Psychotherapy. During the sessions, the patient will explore the meaning of their trauma and the feelings it causes. A very common practice is Prolonged Exposure Therapy, which can be frightening for many, because it involves facing all the things that remind the patient of the traumatic experience they had.
You may also need to take medication, because PTSD often reflects a lack of certain chemicals that make your brain work properly, such as serotonin, hormone in charge of happiness; or norepinephrine, a stress-responsive neurotransmitter.
Treating any mental disorder can be very difficult and exhaustive for the patient, which is why many choose to take complementary therapies, which, as the name suggests, accompany conventional treatment.
One of them, very common among PTSD patients, are support groups, where people who have had similar experiences share the everyday problems they face, which will help the patient realize that they are not alone.
Another very effective complementary therapy is yoga. This practice has proven to be effective in reducing the symptoms of PTSD, as yoga teaches people to deal with their feelings and inner situations in a healthy way through postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Similarly, it has been proven that yoga helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which will have a positive impact on a patient with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A mental disorder can be tough not only for the people who have it, but also for their loved ones. The best thing we can do is to support them, however, this will in no way replace conventional treatment. Here are some actions you can take:
Maddy Wilford is a student who was present during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool, where a man shot and killed 17 people, injuring 17 others, including Maddy.
After the shooting, Maddy began to develop symptoms similar to those caused by PTSD:
Fortunately, both her and her family initiated therapy to overcome the trauma, and in addition, Maddy got an emotional support dog.
Although she still has a long way to go, Maddy has started to improve, and has gotten a job as coach of a basketball team. Likewise, she has regained her motivation for the things she used to enjoy, and now she has a position as an intern at a hospital.
It is well known that taking care of our mental health is as important as taking care of the body. Therefore, in BYBS we want to help you have a healthy mind and live your life to the fullest. Take care of your mind and body while we look after your integrity, finding and building coverages that best suit you.
For more information visit our website, where you will find the different coverages we offer. We have guaranteed approval coverage, which allows you to enroll regardless of your health status, or for those who do not qualify for public health insurance. (healthcare.gov) #CallBlanca(202) 316-4503
In conclusion, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that affects approximately 8 million U.S. citizens a year, a number that, unfortunately, can only increase because of the violence experienced on a daily basis.
The good news is that it is a condition that can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, and that can also be accompanied by complementary therapies that have proven to be effective, such as yoga.
If you suspect you may be dealing with this mental disorder, don’t hesitate to ask for help; even though it is a disorder without a cure, you can reduce its impact in time.
Similarly, because of the recent shootings that have taken place in supermarkets, churches, schools, among others; where people have experienced traumatic events, many of these people may end up with this disorder, but they are not alone in this.
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