Signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated February 11, 2009)

Post traumatic stress disorder occurs after an extremely traumatizing even that lasts at anywhere from a single event to an experiencing lasting 3 months. Traumatic events that might cause this disorder include tragic motor vehicle crashes, traumatic medical diagnoses, kidnapping, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, natural disaster, mugging or a number of other events. Intensity and duration increase the chances of the victim suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Post traumatic stress disorder can potentially be prevented by emergency management training or anticipation therapy (if the traumatic event, like going off to war, is expected).

Family members and close friends should pay careful attention to the victim following the traumatic event. Family members and close friends should look for the following symptoms: flashbacks, feelings of shame or guilt, scary dreams, irritability, emotional absence, memory loss, feelings of hopelessness, feeling easily startled or frightened, and imagining things. Experiencing other traumatic events similar to the one experienced by the victim might initiate symptoms of the disorder. Also seeing similar events in the news or hearing about them on the radio may cause symptoms of the disorder.

So what can you do if you experience any of these symptoms or if you notice a loved one experiencing these symptoms? Psychotherapy and/or medication are very effective in reducing symptoms or completely eliminating them from the life of the victim. Psychotherapy is helpful for both children and adults and helps patients to identify and place their feelings. Psychotherapy is helpful in teaching coping skills so that thoughts and other symptoms do not become too overwhelming. Medication options include anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressant medications. Medications are prescribed according to symptoms and individual experiences so you or your loved one should speak to your physician.

If you have any further questions regarding symptoms and treatment, seek professional medical help for you or your loved one.

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