I thought PTSD only affects military personnel’s or those that have witnessed the horrors of war, but one day, one of my students had a severe panic attack when I came around the corner and she hadn’t heard my footsteps. She later confided in me that she was diagnosed with PTSD. A childhood experience replays in her mind every time something suddenly happens around her.
The event led to the death of her mother.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is an anxiety disorder that occurs to people who have experienced some kind of trauma or violent situations in their lives.
Some of the traumas include-car crashes, abuses (sexual or physical), terrorist attacks, war, gun violence, death. This is real and it is damaging. This cause people to act out of character or become very lonely and anxious.
It causes their nervous system to be constantly alert and may cause them to be detached. This could make them suffer from depression and result in a variety of dangerous habits as a coping mechanism like extreme anger, alcoholism, drugs, self-harming, etc.
Almost 50% of people with PTSD have depression.
It can affect men, women, children, adults, teenagers. The good news is that it is treatable.
Risk factors of PTSD include:
Rape or sexual abuse
Experiencing and/or witnessing violent acts
Physical abuse in childhood
Any experiences leading to death that was witnessed
The difference between PTSD and a normal stress reaction or life stress is the loss of control that affects day to day life.
Types of PTSD
Simple - 1 traumatic event
Complex - 2 or more traumatic events
Note: not everyone with PTSD has flashbacks
The main clues to PTSD are:
Other major symptoms of PTSD include:
Having a difficult time falling or staying asleep
Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger
Feeling constantly “on guard” or like danger is lurking around every corner
Making an effort to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event
A loss of interest in important, once positive, activities
Experiencing difficulties having positive feelings, such as happiness or love
For children and teenagers, express their PTSD in different ways like mood swings, tummy ache, loss of interest, nightmares.
In teenagers, they express their PTSD in dangerous behaviours include rebellion, aggression, risk-taking, alcohol, violence, depression, hyper-sexual activity, trust issues and so on.
Other symptoms include:
Unsafe sexual activity
NLP (neuro-linguistic) therapy
Traumatic incident reduction