Although it’s most often associated with veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can manifest in anyone who’s ever witnessed – or been subject to – trauma. It’s a severe stress reaction which can manifest itself even years after a traumatic event. PTSD features biological and psychological symptoms and often leads to the development of other disorders, including depression and substance abuse. The severe effect this problem can have on the life of an individual makes treatment for PTSD vital to getting one’s life back on track.
The Effect Of PTSD
Although not everyone who survives trauma develops PTSD, it can wreak havoc in a person’s life. Typically, PTSD affects patients’ lives in four different ways:
- Long-lasting feelings of guardedness, nervousness and irritability – many PTSD patients startle easily.
- Avoidance to the point that a person with PTSD will stay away from places, things and people which remind them of their trauma.
- A person with PTSD will experience flashbacks in which they vividly relive the traumatic event when they encounter reminders or situations which resemble the traumatic event. Even unwanted thoughts of the event can trigger a flashback.
- Emotional numbness which causes great difficulty in the individual becoming emotionally open towards others or even themselves. Like depression, emotional numbness can make them unwilling to engage in activities they used to enjoy, forget critical parts of the traumatic incident or have grave anxiety about their future.
Other mental problems are unfortunately common in people with PTSD. Studies have shown more than half of men with PTSD have problems with depression, conduct disorder and substance abuse. Meanwhile, just under half of women with PTSD also have depression. Additional studies have shown PTSD can contribute to developing medical disorders as well – indeed, depression has been shown to be a factor in heart disease and other conditions.