Post Traumatic Syndrome
Post-traumatic syndrome, or, as it is also called, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a severe mental disorder resulting from a super-strong traumatic event experienced by a person.
What could be a traumatic event
Most often, PTSD occurs in people who become participants: victims or witnesses – the following situations:
natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis) and man-made disasters (fires, accidents);
wars (Afghan, Vietnamese syndrome), terrorist act, hostage-taking, captivity;
sexual and physical abuse;
From depression, caused, for example, by the loss of a loved one or similar stresses, the post-traumatic syndrome differs in that it does not develop immediately after an extreme case, but after some time – in a few weeks and even a few months.
How does post-traumatic syndrome
There are several signs characteristic of PTSD.
1. Obsessive memories of a traumatic situation. They can occur suddenly, but more often they are provoked by a factor reminiscent of their experiences. It can be a sound, a smell, an image. These memories are very vivid, but not complete, they resemble scattered pictures. At the same time, the person, as it were, re-experiences all those emotions: horror, depression, helplessness, which he experienced. Often it seems to a person that he has returned to the past. Sometimes he has hallucinations – visual and auditory.
2. Avoiding reminders of a stressful event and everything that may have a connection with it. So, those who survived the shipwreck, not only refuse sea voyages, but are even afraid to swim.
3. Increased anxiety. A person is constantly in a state of nervous tension and anxiety, he is tormented by inexplicable fears, he feels threatened in everything. This is accompanied by a feeling of loneliness, depression.
4. Sleep disturbances. Most often they manifest nightmares in which a person relives a traumatic event. These nightmares are very clear and bright, causing strong negative emotions: fear, pain, helplessness. After them, a person wakes up sweatingly, with a strong heartbeat, tense muscles. Often, terrible dreams are repeated throughout one night. Insomnia is also a symptom of post-traumatic syndrome. Perhaps it is caused by the fact that a person is simply afraid to relive a terrible dream and involuntarily tries not to fall asleep.
5. Feeling guilty. This is a very common symptom of PTSD. A person who has survived a catastrophe or has been in a war who has been held hostage and witnessed the death of people blames himself for their death, although there may be no reason for this. Those who have been abused consider themselves to be dirty, flawed, unworthy of the love and respect of others.
6. Nervous exhaustion. It occurs under the influence of constant nervous tension, nightmares and daytime obsessive and exhausting “pictures from the past.” As a result, performance decreases, memory deteriorates, concentration problems appear.
7. Character change. For people with post-traumatic syndrome, the appearance of such specific features as increased aggressiveness, bouts of uncontrollable rage, selfishness, inability to sympathy, empathy, love are characteristic. At the same time, they lose the ability for strong positive experiences, become apathetic, they are not happy, and nothing brings them pleasure.
8. Addiction to addictions. It can be both alcoholic and drug addiction, as well as gambling addiction.
9. Violation of adaptation in society. A person with post-traumatic syndrome, due to the nature of his character, does not converge well with people. He has no friends, he stops communicating with his relatives and remains completely alone. A distinctive feature of such a person – he does not make plans, he seems to have no future. Often, such people attempt suicide, and they die out quite consciously, because they do not see the point in their future existence.
These are the main symptoms of PTSD, but only some of them can be present in a person suffering from them. It all depends on the severity of the injury and personality traits. Severe stressful situation affects every person differently and manifestations of its consequences are also different.
Is post-traumatic syndrome treated?
Here, too, everything is very individual. If PTSD is manifested in a mild form, it can also go by itself, without treatment. But most often the victim needs the help of a psychotherapist. As a rule, the main treatment is psychotherapeutic, but in necessary cases it is necessary to take sedatives, antidepressants, antipsychotics or tranquilizers.
Treatment is usually long: from six months to two years or more. And in severe cases, the victim has to go to a psychotherapist for life.