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PTSD: Symptoms, Treatment and Coping Strategies

PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that develops when a person witnesses or participates in a violent or frightening event. The condition has long been associated to people who worked in the military, in particular, soldiers assigned to war-ravaged places.

In recent years, however, PTSD has also been diagnosed on people who were exposed to various distress-filled experiences. These include physical attacks or mauls, sexual abuse, life-threatening accidents, and many others.

Symptoms

PTSD symptoms tend to vary since the disorder can either be short or long-term. For instance, a sudden passing of a loved one can possibly result in short-term PTSD even if the event is not entirely violent.

Additionally, PTSD symptoms can appear as early as three months after the person first experienced the traumatic event. Some, however, will manifest the symptoms many years later.

For the symptoms to be considered serious, they must be recurring for at least one month and has begun to affect a person’s daily activities, including his relationship with family and friends.

The most common of PTSD symptoms is flashbacks usually through bad dreams where the victim relives the traumatic event repeatedly while asleep. In some cases, the flashbacks can also occur even when the person is fully awake. The trigger is usually a word or an object that serves as a strong reminder of the traumatic event.

Over time, as the dreams become more frequent, sleeplessness will begin to set in. Lack of sleep will then result to moodiness as well as a growing reluctance to participate in various social functions.

Another common PTSD symptom is avoidance, especially of places that tend to bring back thoughts of the event. Consequently, this can lead a victim to make changes in his daily routine. For example, a man involved in a serious vehicular accident may become hesitant when being asked to get inside a car.

Treatment

Medication is the primary mode of treatment for people showing signs of PTSD. Of the many medications being prescribed for PTSD patients, antidepressants are the most

common. They can effectively address negative emotions that accompany PTSD like worrying, sadness, anger, and even numbness.

Anti-anxiety pills are also considered since these are effective relievers although they tend to be abused. As such, these medications are normally prescribed only for short-term use.

Coping Techniques

Apart from medications, several coping strategies have also been introduced as alternative means of handling PTSD cases. Meditation, for starters, has been found to be quite effective and is currently being offered under different and modified courses. In many of these meditation classes, the aim is to help PTSD patients to relax, control breathing, and refocus their attention to calm and peaceful ideas and away from intrusive and violent thoughts.

Exercise and outdoor physical activities is another popular coping technique recommended for those suffering from PTSD. When performed regularly, these activities help reduce stress and can lead to a fitter and healthier body. More importantly, they inspire PTSD victims to channel their energies to more worthwhile endeavors so that eventually, they can have the strength to face their dark past and recover from the experience.

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