Post traumatic stress syndrome and its recovery

post traumatic stress syndrome

Health and information – Post traumatic stress syndrome is a psychological disorder that is triggered by a terrible event that the sufferer directly experiences, witnesses, or hears about. This terrible event is something that is traumatic for the sufferer.

Most people who have experienced a traumatic event may have difficulty adjusting after the trauma but over time will be able to cope with the traumatic events they experienced.

If symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event worsen, persist for months or even years, and interfere with the functioning of daily life, then the individual is likely to have PTSD.

After experiencing trauma, there is often a struggle with fear, anxiety, and sadness. The sufferer will have trouble sleeping and always have a bad memory.

However, as time goes by, those bad memories and fears slowly fade away in most people. This is what is not the case with PTSD sufferers. They will continue to experience it for a long time and the condition will get worse.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome usually appear one month after the traumatic event. But in some rare cases, new abnormalities will appear months or even years after the incident.

If PTSD symptoms last only one month, then the individual is most likely experiencing acute stress disorder. In some cases, experienced acute stress disorder can develop into PTSD if the sufferer continues to experience the disorder for more than a month after the traumatic event.

These symptoms can cause significant problems in social situations or in interpersonal relationships. This disorder can also interfere with the ability to carry out daily activities.

Based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the American Psychiatrist Association guideline, the criteria for individuals with PTSD are:

1. The source of the cause

Exposure to the threat of death or death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one of four ways:

  • Witnessing firsthand traumatic events that other people have experienced.
  • Witness the traumatic event first hand
  • Experiencing extreme or sustained exposure to the details of a traumatic event, but this exposure does not include exposure through media, such as television, etc.
  • Find out about a traumatic event that happened to a family member or close friend.

2. Recurring traumatic events

  • Disturbing thoughts about traumatic events.
  • Nightmare.
  • Strong physiological reaction upon exposure to reminders of traumatic events (e.g. cold sweats, etc.).
  • Emotional distress that is more pronounced when faced with reminders of the traumatic event (e.g. anger at being shown triggers of the traumatic event, etc.)
  • Flashback.
  • It is important to realize that children can repeat traumatic events through repeated play.

3. Avoidance

This can be done in one of two ways:

  • Avoiding people, places, or activities that could trigger memories of the traumatic event.
  • Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations related to the traumatic event.

4. Changes in cognition and mood that become negative

At least two of the changes below:

  • Excessive and persistent negative self-confidence about yourself, other people, or the world.
  • Loss of interest or participation in important activities.
  • Inability to remember important aspects of traumatic events.
  • Disturbed thoughts about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event on a continuous basis.
  • Feelings of being separated from others.
  • Inability to feel positive emotions consistently.
  • Persistent negative emotional state.

5. Excessive sensory stimulation (hyperarousal)

At least two of the points below:

  • The five senses are more sensitive and make individuals behave intensely and in extreme (hypervigilance).
  • Angry outbursts or irritable behavior.
  • Excessive startled response.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Behavior that is self-defeating or indifferent to the consequences (reckless).
  • Concentration problems.

Especially for children aged 6-11 years, children can show several symptoms, such as:

  • Extreme withdrawal
  • Behavior that annoys others
  • Inability to focus.
  • Behavior that displays attitudes below the individual’s developmental age (regressive behavior).
  • Nightmare.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Irrational fear.
  • Easy to get angry.
  • Refusing to go to school.
  • Angry expression.
  • Fight.
  • Complaining of physical pain without medical explanation (psychosomatic).
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety or guilt.
  • Emotionally numb.

In children six years of age or younger, reactions to trauma can include:

  • Behavior that displays attitudes below the individual’s developmental age (regressive behavior).
  • Fear of being separated from parents.
  • Crying or whining.
  • Cannot move or becomes stiff.
  • Perform movements that do not have a purpose (movement without a goal).
  • Trembling.
  • Frightened facial expression.
  • Too dependent on other people.

What causes post traumatic stress syndrome?

PTSD can occur when a person experiences, sees, listens to, or learns about an event that involves death, serious injury, or sexual violence. The exact cause of PTSD is unknown. However, like most mental health problems, PTSD can be caused by a combination of:

  1. Stressful and traumatic experiences.
  2. The body’s response to stress.
  3. Personality traits (temperament).
  4. Family risk factors such as a history of mental disorders, including anxiety disorders and depression.

How is post traumatic stress syndrome diagnosed?

Under the DSM-5, in addition to meeting the above criteria (in the “symptoms” section), an individual will only be diagnosed with PTSD if:

  1. The disturbances experienced interfere with daily life.
  2. The duration of symptoms is more than one month.
  3. The disturbance experienced is not related to the physiological effects of any medical condition or substance.

To diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, doctors and other mental health professionals will:

  1. Get a physical exam to check for other medical problems that could be causing these symptoms.
  2. Conduct a psychological evaluation which includes a discussion of the signs or symptoms experienced and the events that cause these symptoms.
  3. Using the diagnosis from the DSM-5

What can be done to treat post traumatic stress syndrome?

Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment can help regain control over your life. Some of the treatments that can be done are:

A. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be done individually or in groups and a mental health professional can also provide techniques for dealing with stress. Some of the types of psychotherapy that are given are:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy), helps manage problems and change problematic behavior and thinking.
  2. Cognitive therapy, helps identify negative and problematic individual thought patterns. This therapy is usually combined with exposure therapy.
  3. Exposure therapy, including placing the patient in situations or conditions that make the individual feel afraid or anxious. This therapy allows sufferers to relive the trauma and learn to deal with trauma effectively.
  4. Reprocessing and desensitization and reprocessing of eye movements (EMDR). This therapy is usually combined with exposure therapy. The sufferer is given several eye movements that are guided by a mental health professional that can help the sufferer to process the traumatic event that they experienced.

B. Medication

Several types of medication can help relieve PTSD symptoms:

  1. Anti-anxiety medication, relieves severe anxiety and related problems. Some anti-anxiety drugs have the potential to be abused, so they are usually only used for the short term.
  2. Antidepressants, help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and concentration.

If you have PTSD, you can do the following:

  1. Continue to follow the treatment given.
  2. Implementing a healthy lifestyle, such as eating nutritious foods, getting adequate rest, and regular exercise.
  3. Apply techniques for dealing with stress and relaxation, such as yoga, meditation, and so on.
  4. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics.
  5. Tell a story with those closest to you about a problem you’ve had or join a community with people who have had similar experiences so they can discuss and support each other.
  6. Learn about your condition.
  7. Divert your anxiety by doing other activities, such as taking a relaxing walk, and so on.

How can prevention be done?

After a traumatic event, most people experience PTSD-like symptoms, such as being unable to stop thinking about what happened, feeling scared, anxious, angry, depressed, and feeling guilty.

This reaction is a reaction that usually occurs when a person is traumatized. However, most people who have experienced trauma can cope with the incident and do not experience long-term post traumatic stress disorder.

Getting help and support as early as possible can prevent your normal stress reaction from getting worse and developing PTSD.

You can share your trauma with family and friends who are willing to listen and calm your mind. You can also consult with doctors and other mental health professionals.

Support from those around you is very important to help prevent someone from switching to an unhealthy lifestyle, such as abuse of alcohol or drugs.

The right time to consult a doctor

You need to consult your doctor and other mental health professionals if you or someone close to you experiences any of the symptoms listed, especially if they are disruptive to your daily life.

If you or someone close to you has suicidal thoughts or has attempted suicide, it is highly recommended that you consult your doctor and other mental health professionals immediately.

What do you prepare before consulting?

Before consulting with your doctor and other mental health professionals, you can make a list of your symptoms and for how long, the events that caused you to feel great fear and helplessness (recent and long past).

Things that are stopped or avoided due to stress, physical and mental health information, drugs or substances consumed and their dosages, as well as questions that need to be asked of doctors and other mental health professionals, such as:

  • What’s causing my symptoms?
  • Is my condition likely to be temporary or long term?
  • What treatments can be recommended for me?
  • Are there any changes I need to make at home, work or school to help my symptoms?
  • Are there any brochures, website or printed material I can find about my condition?

Doctors and other mental health professionals may ask the following questions:

  1. What symptoms worry you or those closest to you?
  2. When did you or someone close to you first notice these symptoms?
  3. Have you experienced or witnessed a traumatic event?
  4. Do you have disturbing thoughts, memories, or nightmares from the trauma you experienced?
  5. Do you avoid certain people, places, or situations that remind you of the traumatic experience you had?
  6. Have you had problems at school, work, or in your personal relationships?
  7. Have you ever thought about hurting yourself or others?
  8. Do you drink alcohol or do drugs? How often?
  9. Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental disorder? If so, what treatments have been most helpful?

Also read: Complex post-traumatic stress disorder 

That’s a little explanation from us about post traumatic stress syndrome. Hopefully this can be useful for you and all of us. Don’t forget to always consult with your doctor if the symptoms we mentioned above occur.


(MayoClinic | Medscape | NHS)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *