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If an individual has been subjected to a traumatic incident wherein the individual witnessed, experienced, or was faced with an event that included real or impending death, major harm, or a risk to physical health, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop.

An estimated 70 percent of adults in the US will encounter at least one traumatic incident during their lifetime. Of those, 20 percent will acquire PTSD. In fact, the US Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that approximately 8 million persons in the United States suffer from PTSD each year. Because so many people are impacted, it’s critical to understand what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is, how it’s treated, and whether it ever goes away.

During the diagnosis, the way a person reacts to the traumatic experience is also taken into account. If the person’s reaction was one of extreme fear, helplessness, or terror, and these symptoms continued, the person may be suffering from PTSD. A person suffering from PTSD relives the terrible incident in the following ways:

Recurrent and disturbing memories of the incident

  • Event-related intrusive thoughts
  • Recurring nightmares/dreams
  • Vivid visions/hallucinations or flashbacks of the incident allow you to relive the experience.
  • Overstated emotional or physical responses to event-related images, scents, noises, or ideas

PTSD is often fully reversible. However, there are sometimes long-term consequences. When PTSD sustains for a long time, dealing with it can be a miserable experience for a variety of reasons, as the premise that positive emotions, trust, and a feeling of emotional bonding seem out of reach. Most people, however, develop with treatment and time and are able to have positive relationships once again.

However, 5 to 10 percent of persons who develop PTSD as a result of a traumatic event tend to get long-term relationship issues (Sutton, 2011). Even if a person has continuing relationship issues, counseling can help them become better over time. Furthermore, other PTSD symptoms fade away, making the residual relationship issues a little simpler to manage.

As per the National Center for Victims of Crime (1992), raped victims may experience persistent physiological brain changes as a result of the trauma and subsequent PTSD (PTSD in Abuse and Rape Victims). These people have a long-term difficulty to communicate.

They are often early or late for events/work/obligations, or they don’t turn up at all, because they are unable to accurately assess the passage of time.

To assess if a problem is large or minor, look at the larger picture; to these people, even the smallest issue appears to be a disaster.

Some PTSD symptoms can remain for years or even a lifetime, although the majority do not.

As per UCLA psychologists, people can experience symptoms of PTSD even if they have no clear memory of an incident from earlier years.

Only specific forms of recollection may be important for the development of PTSD, according to the study, which will be published in the journal Biological Psychiatry on Aug. 15. According to the findings, explicit memory — which can be consciously recalled and expressed from earlier experience — may not be needed for PTSD, but other, more fundamental forms of memory may be.

At least 6 prior studies have indicated that some persons who had been through traumatic life events that culminated in brain injury developed PTSD-like symptoms despite having no memory of the events.

The UCLA study sought to address a simple question: What remains of traumatic childhood memories if they are lost? Andrew Poulos, who had been a UCLA postdoc scholar at the time of the study, headed the research team.

In the lab, the scientists subjected 17-day-old rats — the equivalent of slightly over 2 human years — to a single sitting of random stress (mild discomfort induced by electric shocks to the feet). The scientists evaluated the animals’ memory and assessed their anxiety response after 80 days, which is around the same age as a young human adult.

They discovered that mice who did not remember the traumatizing environment exhibited a significant boost in anxiety-related behavior and greater learning of new fear situations. These elevated levels of anxiety and fear were accompanied by significant alterations in the daily cycles of the corticosterone hormone in circulation.

PTSD symptoms normally appear within three months of the stressful event, however, they might appear later. Symptoms must endure longer than one month and be serious enough to interfere with realms of life, like relationships or employment, to fulfill the requirement for PTSD. Moreover, the symptoms must not be caused by medication, substance abuse, or another sickness.

The illness’s duration varies: while some people recover in six months, others experience symptoms in a year or longer. Substance abuse, depression, and one or more anxiety symptoms/disorders are common co-occurring symptoms in people with PTSD.

It’s typical to have some signs or even to feel disconnected from the experience after a scary incident as if you’re watching rather than experiencing it. A health care expert with experience with patients with mental diseases, like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker, can decide whether symptoms satisfy the criteria for PTSD.

The duration of time that PTSD lasts is determined by a number of circumstances. Some are about the trauma itself, while others are about the individual and their lives.

PTSD duration is influenced by trauma-related variables such as:

  • A solitary traumatic event vs. several or persistent trauma experiences
  • Accidental trauma vs. intentional trauma
  • Natural calamities/trauma vs. human-caused trauma
  • Sexual abuse vs. a terrible experience that isn’t sexual
  • Multiple injuries, as well as recurrent traumas, deliberate traumas, human-induced traumas, and sex offenses, are likely to prolong PTSD.

The following are some of the individual and life-related elements that influence the duration of PTSD:

  • Other tragic events in the past
  • Having to deal with various mental health issues
  • Whether sufficient coping methods have been incorporated for PTSD
  • Social assistance for PTSD sufferers
  • People who have already encountered other tragic experiences, have present or former mental health problems, have fewer coping methods/skills, and have little support network are more likely to develop PTSD.

Therapy can have an impact on how long PTSD lasts.

Therapy has been shown to be effective in lowering and overcoming PTSD in studies. Because the client and therapist collaborate together, therapy shortens the length of PTSD.

  • The negative effects of trauma are reduced, and the person may resume his or her previous level of functioning.
  • The individual develops effective, healthy coping mechanisms, which reduces the duration of PTSD.
  • Memories, negative thoughts and strong emotions become more manageable.
  • To substitute PTSD-induced avoidance, hostility, and other negative behaviors, healthy new habits are developed.

Therapy usually lasts between six and twelve weeks. Even if it lasts longer, it reduces the length of time that PTSD lasts.

Although there is no cure for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there are numerous treatments that can help to lessen the symptoms. There are a variety of therapy options available, as well as indications that medication may be beneficial for persons suffering from PTSD symptoms.

These treatment strategies are intended to help persons with PTSD reduce or perhaps eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms that they frequently encounter.

Medications

Although no drugs have been developed particularly to treat PTSD, a number of well-established medications that are now used to treat other psychiatric problems like anxiety and mood disorders have been reported to assist manage PTSD symptoms.

SSRIs

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are a type of drug used to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The following are some examples of typical SSRIs which can be used to treat PTSD:

  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline
  • Fluoxetine

Paxil and Zoloft are the two medications now approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD. The following drugs have also been proved to be beneficial, however, if taken for the treatment of PTSD, they are deemed to be used off-label.

SNRIs

It should be emphasized that SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed drugs for the management of PTSD. An SNRI, on the other hand, can be utilized. The term SNRI refers to a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, which is commonly used to treat depression.

Up to half of those diagnosed with PTSD also fulfill the threshold for a severe depressive disorder diagnosis.

Venlafaxine (Effexor), one of the SNRIs, has been found to be especially beneficial in the management of PTSD.

Psychotherapy

In the management of post-traumatic stress disorder, a range of psychotherapy treatments can be used. However, there is a handful that is gaining a growing body of evidence to support their efficacy in the treatment of PTSD.

Once you’ve found a mental health expert, consider what you’d like to talk about with him or her, such as your feelings, thoughts, and symptoms. All of this information is useful to your therapist in helping you identify and manage your symptoms.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive processing therapy is a sort of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on how you view your traumatic incident and how you deal with the emotional and mental aspects of it.

This procedure includes educating you on the components of cognitive-behavioral therapy and emphasizing the importance of working as a team with your therapist.

You and your partner work together to absorb the traumatic event and move through “stuck areas.” Certain beliefs about the trauma that are hindering rehabilitation are referred to as stuck points. This type of counseling can be done alone or in a group setting.

Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing

The term “EMDR” stands for “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.”  psychotherapy is frequently utilized with trauma survivors, particularly those who are having PTSD symptoms. This therapy employs bilateral sensory input, like side-to-side eye movements, to aid in the processing of painful memories, ideas, and emotions associated with your trauma.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a type of talk therapy that emphasizes the connection between feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. CBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on current symptoms and issues. It usually lasts 12 to 16 courses and can be done individually or in a group setting.

You will work with your therapist to discover any unhelpful patterns or distortions in your feelings and thoughts that are related to the trauma. The purpose of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is to help you rediscover hope, feel more in control of your behaviors and thoughts, and lessen escape or avoidance tendencies.

Complementary and Alternative Methods

Yoga for Trauma Survivors

Yoga has been demonstrated to benefit a number of populations, including people with mental health disorders, and is well-known for its stress-relieving properties. Trauma-sensitive yoga can be quite beneficial for persons suffering from PTSD.

David Emerson, the practitioner who originated the term trauma-sensitive yoga, collaborated with trauma specialist Bessel van der Kolk on a financed study project. Their findings revealed that this particular form of yoga helped their subjects dramatically lessen PTSD symptoms. Trauma-sensitive yoga, in comparison to other types of yoga, emphasizes more gentle exercises and less hands-on modification.

Acupuncture

This therapeutic procedure is a Chinese medicine energy technique in which thin needles are inserted into specific parts of the body to assist prevent or relieving health problems. Acupuncture is a safe and cost-effective complementary and alternative method of treatment for PTSD that has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Patients frequently report a dramatic reduction in emotions of tension and worry.

Innovative Treatments

A number of other treatments for PTSD have shown potential.

Exposure to Virtual Reality

Exposure therapy has been demonstrated to be useful in the management of several anxiety-related disorders because it allows you to face parts of your trauma with less anxiety, gradually desensitizing you to the influence of your experience. Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) allows you to gradually expose yourself to your traumatic circumstance while working in conjunction with a skilled clinician.

The clinician manipulates the visual circumstances and talks them through with you, continuing to subject you to the horrific incident while assisting it to have less and less psychological impact over time. As one of the participants, a war veteran, put it, “You go through the story several times. My own tale had become so boring to me that it no more aroused a response.”

Ketamine Infusion

Ketamine infusion, which was originally licensed by the FDA for anesthesia, is now being considered as a therapy option for treatment-resistant mental health problems such as PTSD. Ketamine therapy is given intravenously at a very low dose, making it safe for in-office treatment without causing significant side effects. According to studies, a single 40-minute infusion treatment can result in a quick decrease of PTSD symptoms.

Ketamine infusion treatment is frequently administered in a series of sessions over the course of a few weeks. Only skilled medical practitioners who have been approved to deliver this type of treatment administer infusions. The optimal way to deliver this treatment over time is still being researched.

MDMA-Assisted Treatment

MDMA is also known as ecstasy, a recreational drug. Evermore study is being done to see if MDMA may be used to treat mental health issues like PTSD. Painful memories are apparently perceived as less frightening during MDMA-assisted therapy sessions as you discuss the consequences of your traumatic event with your therapist.

The therapist in MDMA-assisted therapy uses a non-directive approach, giving you a safe place to explore your feelings without fear of criticism or pressure. It is claimed that you can recall your painful experiences with the help of MDMA without feeling threatened or afraid, making it much easier to organize your feelings and thoughts about the event. The hazards and advantages of this alternative treatment are still being researched.

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