For most, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have a significant effect on everyday living. They appear within the first few weeks of a traumatic occurrence. However, research conducted over the years show that, in small percentage of cases, they may not appear for months or years.
A serious mental condition, PTSD can be caused by witnessing traumatic incidences or by experiencing them. Some people with PTSD have long periods when their symptoms are dormant or less noticeable, followed by severe post-traumatic phases. Others experience persistent and recurring symptoms throughout their lives.
Leading psychologists from Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, say that a patient must exhibit five types of symptoms, given below, to be diagnosed with PTSD.
Signs and symptoms
Exposure: A leading psychologist in Bangalore says that PTSD can be caused by exposure to death, injuries, sexual violence, physical and verbal abuse or other traumatic events in more than one of the following ways:
- Directly witnessing the traumatic event
- Learning that the traumatic event occurred to a loved one
- Excessive or repeated exposure to details of traumatic events for first responders, police, paramedics and doctors
Intrusion: Said to arise after the occurrence of the traumatic event:
- Intrusive, involuntary and recurring memories or repetitive plays of the traumatic event in adults and children.
- Distressing nightmares with vivid play-by-play or unrecognisable content.
- Dissociative reactions such as flashbacks and complete loss of awareness of present surroundings.
- Physiological responses resembling an aspect of the traumatic event.
Avoidance: Persistent avoidance of prompts associated with the traumatic event:
- Attempts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event.
- Avoidance of external reminders such as people, places and objects.
- Avoidance of any activity or situation closely related to the traumatic event.
Altered mood: Negative changes in mood and thoughts associated with the traumatic event:
- Inability to recall certain aspects of the occurrence due to dissociative amnesia.
- A negative outlook on oneself, the world and others.
- Persistent and exaggerated thoughts such as ’I deserve this’, ’I am terrible’, ’Nobody loves me’ and other similar notions.
- Distorted beliefs about the cause and consequences of the traumatic event, resulting in blaming oneself.
- Detachment from others and reduced interest or participation in activities.
- Fragmented positive emotions such as happiness, satisfaction or love.
Altered reactivity: Changes in reactivity that began or worsened after the traumatic event:
- Angry outbursts with little or no provocation.
- Physical or verbal aggression towards people or objects.
- Self-destructive behaviour.
Difficulty in falling or staying asleep.
Kindly mention the source of the criteria (DSM 5? Or ICD- 10?) You can mention the source in the beginning of the paragraph.
The 4 phases of PTSD
A psychiatrist in Bangalore says that PTSD is the appearance of a set of reactions in people who have witnessed a traumatic event. This event may have been life-threatening to them or their close ones. This is a rarely discussed topic, some patients may not even be aware that they are experiencing PTSD symptoms. These individuals may be called ill-tempered, eccentric or even demented.
It is important to note that PTSD doesn't only affect an individual, but it also affects their close friends and family.
PTSD is divided into 4 stages:
Impact: This phase occurs shortly after the individual has experienced or witnessed the traumatic event, and it can last up to several days depending on its severity. People who are affected experience shock, fear, helplessness, anxiety, guilt and other emotions.
Rescue: During this stage, the individual comes to terms with what has occurred. They go through different emotions and mental and physical effects, such as numbness, denial, flashbacks, anger, confusion and despair among others.
Intermediate recovery: The phase is defined by returning and adjusting to everyday routine life. This recovery phase is divided into two stages
- Altruism: The affected person is overwhelmed with love and support from others. They are so inspired to act and help people and hesitant to show any kind of negativity.
- Disillusionment: In this phase, the affected individual loses interest in everything, is irritable and is disappointed with all the happenings around them. Physiological symptoms such as fatigue and sleep deprivation may occur while experiencing disillusionment.
Long-term reconstruction: In this phase, the affected individual is encouraged to rebuild their lives and deal with post-event issues. The patient may become concerned about the future, which can manifest as anger, fear, depression or resentment.
As you know, PTSD can disrupt your everyday life, and it's crucial to take good care of yourself to manage it. You can manage certain aspects of your disorder by developing coping mechanisms such as practicing Mindfulness, identifying and taking active part in support groups and embracing supportive relationships with loved ones, exercise, abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
As you are aware, PTSD can have long-term effects on an individual's mental and emotional well-being, making it critical to talk about the trauma that one has experienced.
There are leading psychologists in Bangalore's Aster Hospital who are trained to assist you with memory processing for the betterment of your mental health.
There are various treatment options available for PTSD, including psychotherapy, trauma-focused cognitive–behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing and medication.