By Dr. Kapil Sharma Neuropsychiatrist, Psychiatry
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a serious potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster.This can cause a serious and shocking response in the sufferer’s mind.
What Causes PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that is triggered when a person witnesses a psychologically traumatic event, such as war, a natural disaster, or any situation that invokes feelings of helplessness or intense fear. While most people eventually adjust to the after-effects of such events.
What are the symptoms shown by the sufferer?
- Increased anxiety and emotional arousal.
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event.
- Avoiding reminders of the trauma.
In children they may include;
- Fear of being separated from the parent.
- Losing previously-acquired skills (such as toilet training).
- Sleep problems and nightmares.
- Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated.
- New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma (such as a fear of monsters).
- Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings.
- Aches and pains with no apparent cause.
- Irritability and aggression.
What are the treatments available to cure PTSD?
If you are willing to be treated by yourself it will do the world of good to you. By making a diagnosis and knowing the severity of disease you can help yourself. The best you can do is to follow a proper and well-planned diet and exercise respectively and abstain yourself from all bad habits including smoking and drinking alcohol.
Other professional treatments include:
Psychotherapies that include:
Cognitive therapy: This type of talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking
(cognitive patterns) that are keeping you stuck.
Exposure therapy: This behavioral therapy helps you safely face what you find frightening
so that you can learn to cope with it effectively.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR combines exposure
therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help you process traumatic memories
and change how you react to traumatic memories.
Medications: These include:
- Anti-anxiety medications.
- Prazosin: If symptoms include insomnia or recurrent nightmares, a drug called prazosin (Minipress) may help.
- Family Therapy: This can help your loved ones understand what you’re going through and help the family work through relationship problems.