Who Is At Risk For Post
You can develop PTSD at any age. Many risk factors play a part in whether you will develop PTSD. They include
- Your sex women are more likely to develop PTSD
- Having had trauma in childhood
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
- Going through a traumatic event that lasts a long time
- 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 use
Season 5 Episode 2: How To Deal With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Let’s Talk
#FIMM #PTSD The Wendy Love Edge Show does not dispense medical advice and all you health choices are your own. The opinions expressed on the show are not necessarily those of the producer, A. Edge Productions. Co-Host: Candis Dyer, Host of Cannacorner and Founder of The Human Solution International Texas Chapter. Guests: Nique Pichette, RN Read More »
Finding A Therapist For Ptsd
When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.
Beyond credentials and experience, its important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe. Trust your gut if a therapist doesnt feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel comfortable and understood.
Get more help
National Center for PTSD Leading research and educational center on PTSD and traumatic stress. Includes resources and treatment info.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Causes, risk factors, and treatments.
Self-Help and Coping Articles on coping with PTSD in healthy ways.
Find treatment and support for PTSD
In the UK:PTSD UK offers treatment and support options.
In Australia:Phoenix Australia offers PTSD helplines and resources.
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Prevention After Large Scale Traumatic Events
Evidence to support routine intervention after traumatic events involving many people is lacking. However, some evidence suggests that high levels of social support are perceived as protective. Consensus guidelines recommend supportive, practical, and pragmatic input but avoidance of formal clinical interventions unless indicated.
When To Suspect Ptsd
When patients present with mental or physical symptoms that cannot be fully explained after a traumatic event
When patients present with characteristic symptoms of PTSDre-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal
When patients disclose a history of involvement in a traumatic event
When patients present with mental or physical symptoms that are difficult to explain in the absence of a disclosed traumatic event
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Where To Get Help
- Your doctor
- Mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, with experience in treatment of PTSD
- Community health centre
- Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health Tel. 9035 5599
- Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2013, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. More information here.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd
Everyone is affected differently by PTSD. Symptoms can range from subtle changes in day-to-day life, withdrawal and numbness, to distressing flashbacks or physical anxiety.
Symptoms of PTSD may appear in the month after the traumatic event, but sometimes they can stay dormant for years.
Some symptoms of PTSD include:
- re-experiencing the trauma
- repetitive memories that are hard to control and intrude into everyday life
- extreme distress caused by reminders of the trauma
- memories or disturbing thoughts that can be prompted by smells, sounds, words or other triggers
- staying away from places, people or objects that may trigger memories of the traumatic event
- changing a normal routine to avoid triggering memories
- not wanting to talk about or think about the event
- feeling numb
- feeling a sense of hopelessness about the future
- negative beliefs about yourself or the world
- blaming yourself or others unreasonably
- intense worry, depression, anger or guilt
- not being able to remember the traumatic event
- no longer enjoying favourite activities
- becoming emotionally detached from others
- not being able to experience positive emotions
- scanning the environment for signs of danger
- being easily startled
- poor concentration
For a symptom checklist, visit Beyond Blue.
Children or teenagers with PTSD may have similar symptoms, but with some differences. Symptoms of PTSD in children include:
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What Makes People Vulnerable To Ptsd
While its impossible to predict a persons response to trauma, certain risk factors can make it harder for some people to cope and thus more likely for them to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. These can include problems managing emotions, the presence of other mental health conditions, adverse childhood experiences , and having previously survived one or more traumatic incidents. Women have higher rates of PTSD than men. Professions where individuals are exposed to stress and danger on a regular basis, such as law enforcement and medicine, can increase the likelihood of getting PTSD. Intergenerational trauma and a persons cultural background may also play a role.
Treatment For Children And Teenagers With Ptsd
For children and teenagers who are struggling to recover after a traumatic event, the recommended treatment is trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy . This treatment involves:
- learning about the type of traumatic event experienced and common reactions to trauma
- teaching how to relax and manage anxiety
- helping to create a coherent story of the traumatic event, and correct any unhelpful beliefs about the event such as self-blame
- gradual exposure to trauma-related objects or situations that are feared or avoided
- helping to get back into everyday activities.
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What Are The Treatments For Post
The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medicines, or both. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. If you have PTSD, you need to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for your symptoms.
- Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, which can teach you about your symptoms. You will learn how to identify what triggers them and how to manage them. There are different types of talk therapy for PTSD.
- Medicines can help with the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants may help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Other medicines can help with sleep problems and nightmares.
How Does Ptsd Affect Normal Brain Functioning
In response to an overactive amygdala and underactive prefrontal cortex, the brain releases large amounts of norepinephrine in the presence of perceived danger. This can affect brain functioning in several ways, leading to hyperarousal, hypervigilance, and increased wakefulness and disrupted sleep. PTSD sufferers may also find that when they are emotionally aroused, they have little control over their reactive anger and impulsive behaviors. The weight of negative emotions such as fear and anger can diminish positive feelings and create problems at work and in personal relationships.
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What Causes Complex Ptsd
The types of traumatic events that can cause complex PTSD include:
- childhood abuse, neglect or abandonment
- ongoing domestic violence or abuse
- repeatedly witnessing violence or abuse
- being forced or manipulated into prostitution
- torture, kidnapping or slavery
- being a prisoner of war.
You are more likely to develop complex PTSD if:
- you experienced trauma at an early age
- the trauma lasted for a long time
- escape or rescue were unlikely or impossible
- you have experienced multiple traumas
- you were harmed by someone close to you.
“Developing PTSD after experiencing domestic violence was not something I was prepared for. Physically I left my old home. Mentally I am still there. The prison is no longer that house it is my mind. My thoughts. My memories.”
Misdiagnosis with BPD
Some of the symptoms of complex PTSD are very similar to those of borderline personality disorder , and not all professionals are aware of complex PTSD.
As a result, some people are given a diagnosis of BPD or another personality disorder when complex PTSD fits their experiences more closely. Professionals disagree about when it’s helpful to diagnose someone with a personality disorder or when another diagnosis or description is better. To find out more see our page on why personality disorders are controversial?
What Can I Do If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- ask a relative, friend or advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a legal right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.
You can find out more about:
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When To Seek Help For Ptsd
A person who has experienced a traumatic event should seek professional help if they:
- dont feel any better after two weeks
- feel highly anxious or distressed
- have reactions to the traumatic event that are interfering with home, work and/or relationships
- are thinking of harming themselves or someone else.
Some of the signs that a problem may be developing are:
- being constantly on edge or irritable
- having difficulty performing tasks at home or at work
- being unable to respond emotionally to others
- being unusually busy to avoid issues
- using alcohol, drugs or gambling to cope
- having severe sleeping difficulties.
What Are The Symptoms Of Post
There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way. The types are
- Re-experiencing symptoms, where something reminds you of the trauma and you feel that fear again. Examples include
- Flashbacks, which cause you to feel like you are going through the event again
- Frightening thoughts
The symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event. But sometimes they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.
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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.
Do You Need More Help
Contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about support and resources in your area. Find your local CMHA here.
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in hundreds of neighbourhoods across every province, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.
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Are There Different Types Of Ptsd
If you are given a diagnosis of PTSD, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe PTSD. This explains what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently it’s not a description of how frightening or upsetting your experiences might have been.
PTSD may be described differently in some situations:
- Delayed-onset PTSD. If your symptoms emerge more than six months after experiencing trauma, this might be described as ‘delayed PTSD’ or ‘delayed-onset PTSD’.
- Complex PTSD. If you experienced trauma at an early age or it lasted for a long time, you might be given a diagnosis of ‘complex PTSD’. See our page oncomplex PTSD for more information.
- Birth trauma. PTSD that develops after a traumatic experience of childbirth is also known as ‘birth trauma’. See our page on PTSD and birth trauma for more information.
If you experience some PTSD symptoms while supporting someone close to you who’s experienced trauma, this is sometimes known as secondary trauma.
See our pages on trauma for more information on how traumatic experiences can affect your mental health.
“I couldn’t understand why I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning I couldn’t remember things, I couldn’t process things. It was like my brain had just slowed down and ground to a halt.”
Do Children React Differently Than Adults
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Symptoms sometimes seen in very young children , these symptoms can include:
- Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
- Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult
Older children and teens are more likely to show symptoms similar to those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
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Religious And Other Cultural Contexts
Dreams figure prominently in major world religions. The dream experience for early humans, according to one interpretation, gave rise to the notion of a human “,” a central element in much religious thought. wrote:
But there can be no reasonable doubt that the idea of a soul must have first arisen in the mind of primitive man as a result of observation of his dreams. Ignorant as he was, he could have come to no other conclusion but that, in dreams, he left his sleeping body in one universe and went wandering off into another. It is considered that, but for that savage, the idea of such a thing as a ‘soul’ would never have even occurred to mankind….
Ptsd Symptoms And Behaviors
Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include reliving a traumatic event through nightmares, flashbacks, or constantly thinking about it. You might avoid situations or people that remind you of the event, have only negative thoughts or emotions, and constantly feel jittery, nervous, or on edge. Although some of these symptoms sound similar to PTS, the difference is the duration and intensity. Symptoms that continue for more than one month, are severe, and interfere with your daily functioning are characteristic of PTSD.
Behaviors that indicate professional intervention is needed may include drinking or smoking more than usual as attempts to reduce anxiety or anger, and aggressive driving. Service members who have experienced combat can be especially nervous driving under overpasses and past litter on the roadside behavior learned in Iraq and Afghanistan where insurgents hide improvised explosive devices in garbage and use overpasses to shoot at vehicles. Other behaviors that indicate that help may be needed can include being wary of crowds, showing reluctance to go to movie theaters, crowded stores, or nightclubs, and avoiding news that addresses overseas combat or getting angry at the reports.
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