By Dr. Atul Aswani, 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 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 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.