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What Is Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Are There Different Types Of Ptsd

Understanding and Treating Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Three different types of post-traumatic stress disorder exist. If symptoms last less than three months, the condition is considered acute PTSD. If symptoms last at least three months, the disorder is referred to as chronic PTSD. If symptoms manifest at least six months following a traumatic event, the disorder is classified delayed-onset PTSD, according to the National Institute of Health .

What Risks Are Associated With Ptsd

Alcohol and drug use

You might use drugs or alcohol to help you to manage your symptoms.

Drugs or alcohol can make you more unwell and more likely to try and harm yourself or take your own life.

Mental health conditions

Symptoms of PTSD can be made worse by other disorders such as:

  • depression
  • substance abuse, and
  • memory problems

Most people with PTSD will have at least 1 other mental health condition. The most common disorders are:

  • depressive disorders,
  • substance use disorders, and
  • anxiety disorders.

Other mental health conditions have the some of the same symptoms as PTSD. This may be why PTSD is hard to diagnose.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviours

In severe cases PTSD can last long enough and have a large impact on day to day life. This can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Physical health issues

PTSD has been linked to physical symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus and blurry vision.

It has also been linked to physical illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

You can find more information about:

Drugs, alcohol and mental health by clicking here.Depression by clicking here.Suicidal feelings How to cope by clicking here.

Which Children Are At Risk For Ptsd

A childs risk for PTSD is often affected by:

  • How close the child was to the traumatic event

  • How bad the event was

  • How long the event lasted

  • If the event happened more than once

  • How well the child is able to recover quickly from difficult things

  • How well the child copes

  • How supportive a childs family and community are after the event

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Treatment For Complex Ptsd

Because complex PTSD is a relatively new diagnosis, mental health professionals are still working on treatment options. There are still some options that may help.

  • Talk therapy to help process the trauma
  • Medication such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Exposure therapy in which subjects face their memories in a safe space
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy , which addresses thought patterns

Some therapists use a relatively new therapy called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing . It may be helpful for complex PTSD too. In EMDR, the subject remembers a trauma while following a bilateral stimulus that leads to a back-and-forth eye movement. The stimulus could be one they see such as a finger moving back and forth or a sound. EMDR is effective for PTSD, but experts debate if the bilateral stimulation is really important or if the process could happen without it.

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Talk About Their Treatment

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD) Assessment and Management

If your loved one is not in treatment, itâs always best to encourage they reach out for professional help. If they are currently in treatment, let them know youâre there to help. This may involve talking about their progress and treatment victories. In exposure-based therapies, this may include participating in certain exposures . While we encourage people to offer this kind of support, it is important to mention that we do not recommend discussing specific horrific details of trauma events with the sufferer. However, it may be worthwhile to discuss how the event has affected their life and their goals for the future.

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How Is Ptsd Diagnosed

A psychiatrist will diagnose PTSD through a mental health assessment. Your GP should carry out an initial assessment to decide what care you need. Your assessment should include information about:

  • your physical needs,
  • your social needs, and
  • risk.

As part of the assessment they will decide if you need to be referred to the community mental health team . You should be referred to the CMHT if you have had symptoms for more than 4 weeks. Or your symptoms are very bad. A CMHT is part of the NHS. They are a team of mental health professionals.

Doctors use the following manuals to help to diagnose you:

  • International Classification of Diseases produced by the World Health Organisation , and
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association.

The manuals are guides which explain different mental health conditions.

What Is The Dsm

DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s a book that is basically like an encyclopedia of mental health conditions. The book originally was published in 1952, but has been updated multiple times resulting in the current edition of the DSM-5.

The DSM was created by over a hundred and sixty clinicians and researchers from all over the globe. The purpose of creating the DSM is to provide a handbook for mental health professionals and other healthcare workers.

The DSM includes lists of symptoms and criteria that they can use in order to diagnose patients with mental disorders. This guidebook helps to make diagnosis and communication about mental illness more consistent.

Over the years, the book has continued to be updated and revised as there is research consistently happening on an ongoing basis around mental health disorders. These revisions help to keep the book accurate for our current day in order to help the most amounts of people. The most recent additions to the book were made in order to include symptoms that people were commonly experiencing with mental disorders such as PTSD, but we’re not already included in the book.

Because mental health professionals are using this book in order to diagnose patients, a lack of the right symptoms being included could cause people not to be diagnosed. This would mean that they would not have access to the treatment that they would need in order to gain control of their mental health challenges.

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Negative Changes In Thoughts And Mood

People with PTSD may experience a pervasive negative emotional state . Other symptoms in this category include:

  • Inability to remember an important aspect of the event
  • Persistent and elevated negative evaluations about oneself, others, or the world
  • Elevated self-blame or blame of others about the cause or consequence of the event
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Feeling detached from others
  • Inability to experience positive emotions

Ptsd Prevalence And Comorbidity Rates

PTSD in Chronic Conditions

According to the DSM-5, for those living in the United States, 8.7% of the US population will have PTSD at some point in their lifetime. For adults, within the last 12 months, approximately 3.5% of the US population will have a current PTSD diagnosis. While certain characteristics can impact the development of PTSD, rates of PTSD are highest for survivors of sexual assault, military combat personnel, and refugee survivors of ethnic or political forms of imprisonment/genocide.

PTSD is rarely the only concern a person has once the disorder becomes chronic. In fact, PTSD is second only to depression in the likelihood of a person presenting with multiple psychiatric diagnoses. For example, among people with PTSD, they are 92% likely to also have another anxiety disorder or a mood disorder like depression. More specifically, 69% of people with PTSD also have a current depression diagnosis, 23% of people with PTSD also have panic disorder, and 23% of people with PTSD also have OCD. Additionally, 25% of people with PTSD also have concurrent medical concerns. For instance, people with PTSD are twice as likely as someone without PTSD to have gastrointestinal concerns, are over three times as likely to have a metabolic or autoimmune issue, and two and a half times more likely to have a neurological problem.

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Other Terms For Complex Ptsd

Complex PTSD is a fairly new term. Professionals have recognised for a while that some types of trauma can have additional effects to PTSD, but have disagreed about whether this is a form of PTSD or an entirely separate condition, and what it should be called.

For example, you may find some doctors or therapists still use one of the following terms:

  • enduring personality change after catastrophic experience
  • disorders of extreme stress not otherwise specified this term is more common in America than the UK.

“At times I felt nothing was going to end the distress, experiencing more than 10 flashbacks a day… It was a long process of recovery, with lots of bumps along the road, but the right medication and long-term therapy with someone I came to trust, has changed my life.”

What Are The Symptoms Of Complex Ptsd

People with complex PTSD tend to experience the core symptoms of PTSD as well as disturbances in their thoughts, behaviours and emotions including:

  • difficulties expressing emotions it is common for someone to lose control of their emotions, such as in explosive anger or persistent sadness
  • negative self-belief a person can view themselves in a negative light, and they may feel helpless, guilty, or ashamed
  • problems maintaining healthy relationships due to lack of trust in some cases people avoid relationships completely, while others can develop unhealthy relationships
  • ongoing feelings of emptiness

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How Is Ptsd Treated In A Child

Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

PTSD can be treated. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important. It can ease symptoms and enhance your childs normal development. It can also improve your childs quality of life.

Treatment may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. A child learns skills to handle his or her anxiety and to master the situation that led to the PTSD.

  • Medicines for depression or anxiety. These may help some children feel calmer.

Recovery from PTSD varies. Some children recover within 6 months. Others have symptoms that last much longer. Recovery depends on the childs inner strengths, coping skills, and ability to bounce back. It is also affected by the level of family support. Parents play a vital role in treatment.

The Difference Between Ctsd And Ptsd

Complex PTSD Symptoms and Treatment

When people endure violent or life-threatening situations, they tend to exhibit any of the following symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder :

  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Depression

To process trauma, patients need help, which often involves a combination of counseling and medical care. However, when trauma occurs on a continual basis, the results can be even more devastating and challenging to treat. In 1986, South African writer Frank Chikane first used the term CTSD as he explored how apartheid affected a generation of children.2

He noticed that people can suffer from CTSD due to the following experiences:

  • Being raised by an alcoholic parent
  • Constant exposure to violence
  • Homelessness
  • Food insecurity and malnutrition

While similar to PTSD, this condition has its unique causes, so people will need specialized treatment to recover.

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Why Do Some People Develop Ptsd And Other People Do Not

It is important to remember that not everyone who lives through a dangerous event develops PTSD. In fact, most people will not develop the disorder.

Many factors play a part in whether a person will develop PTSD. Some examples are listed below. Risk factors make a person more likely to develop PTSD. Other factors, called resilience factors, can help reduce the risk of the disorder.

Some factors that increase risk for PTSD include:

  • Living through dangerous events and traumas
  • Getting hurt
  • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after the event
  • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home
  • Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse

Some factors that may promote recovery after trauma include:

  • Seeking out support from other people, such as friends and family
  • Finding a support group after a traumatic event
  • Learning to feel good about ones own actions in the face of danger
  • Having a positive coping strategy, or a way of getting through the bad event and learning from it
  • Being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear

Researchers are studying the importance of these and other risk and resilience factors, including genetics and neurobiology. With more research, someday it may be possible to predict who is likely to develop PTSD and to prevent it.

Additional Trauma And Ptsd

Risky behaviorResearchers with the National Center for PTSD found in 2017 that engaging in risky behavior, a symptom of PTSD, could in turn lead to worse PTSD symptoms. The researchers found that risky behaviors such as dangerous alcohol or drug use, drunken driving, gambling, and aggression were common among Veterans with PTSD, and that such behaviors were tied to experiencing other PTSD symptoms and additional traumatic events that could lead to worse symptoms in the future.

These findings suggest that many Veterans with PTSD continue to experience stressful events that may prolong or worsen their PTSD symptoms, even years after the initial trauma.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd In A Child

Children and teens with PTSD feel a lot of emotional and physical distress when exposed to situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Some may relive the trauma over and over again. They may have nightmares and disturbing memories during the day. They may also:

  • Have problems sleeping

  • Feel depressed or grouchy

  • Feel nervous, jittery, or alert and watchful

  • Lose interest in things they used to enjoy. They may seem detached or numb and are not responsive.

  • Have trouble feeling affectionate

  • Be more aggressive than before, even violent

  • Stay away from certain places or situations that bring back memories

  • Have flashbacks. These can be images, sounds, smells, or feelings. The child may believe the event is happening again.

  • Lose touch with reality

  • Reenact an event for seconds or hours or, in rare cases, days

  • Have problems in school

  • Worry about dying at a young age

  • Act younger than their age, such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting

  • Have physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches

What Are The Signs Of Ptsd

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? I Operation Brain Health

The Mayo Clinic mentions several reoccurring symptoms, including fearful thoughts, flashbacks and bad dreams. These symptoms can become problematic in a persons life. Some of the avoidance symptoms include difficulty remembering the traumatic event and avoiding reminders of the experience, such as places, people and objects. Hyperarousal symptoms may also arise, such as feeling tense, being startled easily and having trouble sleeping. While it is normal to experience some of these symptoms after a terrible event, symptoms lasting more than a few weeks may be signs of PTSD.

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How Can I Help My Child Live With Ptsd

As a parent, you play a key role in your childs treatment. Here are things you can do to help:

  • Admit that the event happened. Pretending everything is normal won’t help your child.

  • Be supportive and get counseling for children and teens who have seen or gone through a traumatic event. A child or teen may at first not want counseling. But it may be needed months or even years after the traumatic event.

  • Keep all appointments with your child’s healthcare provider.

  • Talk with your childs healthcare provider about other providers who will be included in your childs care. Your child may get care from a team that may include counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Your childs care team will depend on his or her needs and how serious the PTSD is.

  • Tell others about your childs PTSD. Work with your childs healthcare provider and school to create a treatment plan.

  • Reach out for support from local community services. Being in touch with other parents who have a child with PTSD may be helpful.

  • Take all symptoms of depression and suicide very seriously. Get treatment right away. Suicide is a health emergency.

Treatment Of Complex Ptsd

Because the DSM-5 does not currently provide specific diagnostic criteria for C-PTSD, its possible to be diagnosed with PTSD when C-PTSD may be a more accurate assessment of your symptoms. Despite the complexity and severity of the disorder, C-PTSD can be treated with many of the same strategies as PTSD, including:

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Next Steps For Ptsd Research

In the last decade, progress in research on the mental and biological foundations of PTSD has lead scientists to focus on better understanding the underlying causes of why people experience a range of reactions to trauma.

  • NIMH-funded researchers are exploring trauma patients in acute care settings to better understand the changes that occur in individuals whose symptoms improve naturally.
  • Other research is looking at how fear memories are affected by learning, changes in the body, or even sleep.
  • Research on preventing the development of PTSD soon after trauma exposure is also under way.
  • Other research is attempting to identify what factors determine whether someone with PTSD will respond well to one type of intervention or another, aiming to develop more personalized, effective, and efficient treatments.
  • As gene research and brain imaging technologies continue to improve, scientists are more likely to be able to pinpoint when and where in the brain PTSD begins. This understanding may then lead to better targeted treatments to suit each persons own needs or even prevent the disorder before it causes harm.

What Causes Ptsd In A Child

Best practices in ptsd handout

A traumatic event that triggers PTSD may be:

  • Something that happened to the child

  • Something that happened to someone close to the child

  • Something the child saw

A child or teen may suffer from PTSD after one of these traumatic events:

  • Bad accidents, such as car or train wrecks

  • Invasive medical procedures, especially for children younger than age 6

  • Animal bites

  • Natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes

  • Manmade tragedies, such as bombings

  • Violent personal attacks, such as a mugging, rape, torture, or kidnapping

  • Physical abuse

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