4 Things You Should Know About Trauma and PTSD
Trauma is an experience that has tormented you. Something extremely disturbing you can’t shake off.
Traumatic experiences come in many forms. They can range from surviving or witnessing violence to other life-threatening situations like car accidents.
Going through such an experience can leave you scared and, even worse, scarred.
Incidences that cause trauma can leave you unable to function normally, struggling to sleep, and in most cases, you end up developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
This post looks at four must-know factors about trauma and PTSD.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD has often been associated with veterans and the impacts of wars.
But any situation associated with fear, helplessness, and shock that leaves long-term effects such as anxiety, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping is PTSD.
Basically, when you go through significant trauma that leaves you struggling to cope, you have PTSD.
According to the National Center for PTSD, 7 out of 100 people suffer from the condition.
When Trauma Becomes PTSD
Human reaction to trauma is instant and natural.
However, significant traumatic events will leave you vulnerable for a while. How long the effects last vary from person to person. Depending on how you process things, trauma can last a few days, months, or even years.
With PTSD, the symptoms usually begin about three months after a traumatic experience. Some have even experienced the symptoms decades after being exposed to trauma.
Always check if the symptoms fit the narrative below:
- They begin shortly exposure to trauma
- They disrupt your work life
- They ruin your relationships
- The symptoms are unrelated to ongoing medication
Apart from the above criteria. Each person may have unique PTSD symptoms.
PTSD Symptom Categories
Exposure to trauma and PTSD tend to work together with other disorders like depression, substance use, or anxiety attacks. That means that symptoms often overlap.
Still, a diagnosis of PTSD is generally associated with the following symptoms:
- Re-experiencing Trauma
PTSD patients are faced with trauma flashbacks that leave them anxious and sweating.
Recurring symptoms can also include dreams and distressing thoughts about the trauma.
Additionally, patients may have certain thoughts, pictures, or words that trigger such symptoms.
- Avoidance Symptoms
In this case of avoidance symptoms, you find yourself desperately avoiding talking, thinking, or visiting places that are a reminder of the trauma.
If you notice that you can’t take certain routes or visit certain places because they trigger your trauma, chances are that you suffer from PTSD.
- Increased Arousal and Reactivity
PTSD and trauma can cause you to feel behavioral and physical changes like jumpiness, insomnia, or destructive behavior.
In some cases, you might feel easily irritable resulting in outbursts.
Physical changes can include trouble breathing or a racing heart after a flashback.
- Cognition Symptoms.
You might have trouble remembering critical facts about your trauma or have distorted thoughts that cause you to blame yourself. These symptoms are associated with difficulty in processing what happened.
- Mood Changes
PTSD can also dramatically cause mood changes, subjecting you to constant negative emotions like anger, fear, self-blame, and shame.
You can also feel isolated from the world and have difficulty embracing positive emotions.
PTSD and Trauma Have Multiple Treatments
PTSD and trauma treatment is either medication, home remedies, therapy, or a mix of everything.
Your doctor can offer medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which helps with emotional changes like anger and sadness.
The medication you receive will depend on the symptoms, like whether you experience hyper-arousal or psychosis.
Other medications also help with issues like sleep problems and pain.
Despite the legalization debates, as early as 2010, Harvard University discovered that cannabis products reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
The antidepressant and anxiolytic effects found in cannabis make it a suitable, non-addictive medication for PTSD symptoms.
While there are still concerns about the possible downsides of cannabis, the benefits are hard to ignore. This Veriheal page looks into the pros and cons of cannabis. Many of the discussed pros can be beneficial to PTSD patients.
There are different therapies that help treat trauma and PTSD, such as Cognitive reconstructing therapy and exposure therapy.
Mental health professionals use these forms of therapy to identify traumatic thoughts and address them.
- Therapy, Cannabis, and Medication
Your doctor can help you find the perfect mix for treating PTSD by using a bit of everything that works.
For example, depending on your condition, the doctor can decide between antidepressants or cannabis to keep you calm throughout exposure therapy.
Trauma and PTSD are common conditions affecting millions due to life challenges and disturbing experiences.
However, treatment isn’t just possible. With proper medical care, you can get better and reclaim your life.