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.
Ptsd: National Center For Ptsd
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PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. During this kind of event, you may not have any control over whats happening, and you may feel very afraid. Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.
Its normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event . At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.
If its been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.
How I Knew I Had PTSD
When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your traumaeven things you used to enjoy.
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Treatment Of Medical Trauma
It is common to avoid talking or thinking about traumatic experiences. Still, one of the best ways to relieve the feelings is to share the experiences with someone you trust.
Treating symptoms related to medical trauma should incorporate many of the same principles involved in treating PTSD. Elements of an overall treatment plan should include:
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Integration of health and psychological treatments
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that educates people about symptoms, identifies maladaptive thoughts, teaches skills to identify symptomatic triggers, and helps people manage symptoms. Talking with a mental health provider can occur individually or in a group setting.
In addition, people with certain symptoms of PTSD might be prescribed medication, such as antidepressants.
A person experiencing the effects of medical trauma can also help themselves by:
- Exploring treatment options with a healthcare provider
- Exercising to reduce stress
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What Is Complex Post
Most people have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts many men and women returning from a war zone. It is characterized by flashbacks, unstable mood, and survivors remorse. However, many have never heard of a condition that often develops in childhood and changes the course of the childs life forever, complex post-traumatic stress disorder .
For a good definition of CPTSD, we turned to Beauty After Bruises, an organization that offers outreach focused on adult survivors of childhood trauma who have complex PTSD with or without the presence of a dissociative disorder. Their definition of complex post-traumatic stress disorder as follows:
CPTSD forms in response to repeated interpersonal violence that leaves the victim, a child or adult, feeling trapped with no hope of escape or of imminent death.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a developmental trauma disorder which is wildly different than post-traumatic stress disorder that normally, but not always, forms in adulthood.
The trauma model states that children who experience chronic sexual, psychological, physical abuse and neglect develop CPTSD. However, it also forms in kids who suffer slavery, human trafficking, working in sweatshops, war or survivors of concentration camp environments and cults. The trauma which causes this disorder may also include having experienced betrayal, defeat, and shame.
Reintegration: Homecoming After Combat
As service members return home, their mission and the stressors they encounter change drastically. While this eagerly anticipated time is generally positive and marked by a reduction in risk, difficulties associated with transition back into noncombat roles are common. Many frequently report stress redefining their role within the family.21 While the service member is deployed, family members adapt and expand roles to fill the voids created by the persons absence. Many returning service members describe feeling unneeded and out of place. Veterans with persisting physical or psychological wounds may not be able to reengage with previous activities or fulfill former obligations. They and their families often strive to accommodate changes in attitudes, emotions, and behaviors altered by military experiences. Similarly, veterans frequently report believing civilians cannot understand their sacrifices or combat experiences, resulting in feeling disconnected from their family, civilian peers, and their larger community.22 This can be particularly alienating in contrast with the closeness felt with the comrades with whom they served.
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Who Is At Risk Of Ptsd
Anyone who has been through an experience that was intensely scary, dangerous, or life threatening is at risk of PTSD. Experiencing this type of trauma is common: At least 4 in 5 people experience some type of trauma in their lifetimes.1 The majority of people who experience a trauma do not develop PTSD. The more serious the trauma was or the more directly it affected you, the higher your risk of developing PTSD afterward.7
Military veterans as a group are at very high risk of PTSD. About 14% of veterans of the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan developed PTSD after returning home.8
Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.9 Women who have gone through trauma, including women in the military, are more likely than men whove experienced trauma to develop PTSD. Among women who are raped, about half develop PTSD.6
Risk Factors For Post
Genetic factors increase the risk of developing PTSD. Environmental influences and learning experiences also play an important role. Among the factors affecting the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are the following
- A lack of support from your family and friends can increase the possibility of PTSD.
- The situation of being young or old,
- Presence of psychological disturbances or trauma in the personal health history,
- Having psychological disorders or traumatic events in the family
- The long-term and heavy trauma experiences and
- A low socio-economic situation can also increase the risk of PTSD.
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What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.
PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as shell shock during the years of World War I and combat fatigue after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.
People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares they may feel sadness, fear or anger and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.
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.
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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.
Is Ptsd A Curable Disorder
There is still a lot to learn about the ways that PTSD develops and may be treated, but research suggests that there are two related schools of treatment. The first is psychotherapy with specific attention to the individuals traumatic experience and how it may be connected with their reactions and behaviors in daily life. The second school of treatment can include medications such as antidepressants or sedatives. Both schools of treatment may benefit from one another and together they might offer better long-term outcomes than either type alone.
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Supporting Someone With Ptsd
Research has shown that support from family and friends is important in helping someone overcome the debilitating effects of PTSD. Couples or family therapy can help to fix damaged relationships. In some cases, family members may need to seek support of their own.
For detailed information on the most effective treatments for PTSD, see The Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Diagnostic And Statistical Manual
PTSD was classified as an anxiety disorder in the DSM-IV, but has since been reclassified as a “trauma- and stressor-related disorder” in the DSM-5. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD include four symptom clusters: re-experiencing, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition/mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity.
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How Do I Know If I Have Ptsd
One of the most common myths about PTSD is that everyone who goes through trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. While its completely normal to experience PTSD-like symptoms immediately following a traumatic event, these usually resolve within a month, especially if the individual receives strong emotional support. PTSD symptoms often overlap with acute stress disorder , an intense but brief psychological reaction to a traumatic or life-altering event that doesnt persist after 30 days.
Typical Triggers Of Ptsd:
- Wars, riots, exile, terrorist attacks
- Individual violence such as rape, sexual harassment, torture, assault, abduction
- All types of accidents, traffic accidents, occupational accidents and sports accidents
- Natural disasters like wildfires, lightning, floods, avalanches, or earthquakes
- Disasters caused by humans such as fires, explosions, plane crashes, train crashes, ship crashes, industrial accidents
- Severe illnesses like heart attack, cancer, as well as intensive care, emergency room surgeries.
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How Long Does Ptsd Last
Experiencing distress, fear, anxiety, shock, and other negative emotions is normal in the immediate aftermath of a disturbing incident. A diagnosis of PTSD is generally considered if such symptoms persist for at least a month and interfere with daily functioning. PTSD symptoms can last anywhere from months to years following the originating trauma and can be exacerbated by exposure to more trauma.
Are Some Women More Likely To Develop Ptsd
Yes, although most women who go through trauma wont get PTSD. But you may be more likely to develop PTSD if you:
- Were directly exposed to the trauma as a victim or a witness. As many as half of women who are raped develop PTSD.10
- Were seriously hurt during the traumatic event
- Went through a trauma that lasted a long time or was very severe
- Have another mental health condition like depression or anxiety
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- Dont have a good support network
- Experienced trauma during childhood
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Key Points About Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In Children
PTSD is a mental health problem. A child with PTSD has constant, scary thoughts and memories of a past event.
A traumatic event, such as a car crash, natural disaster, or physical abuse, can cause PTSD.
Children with PTSD may relive the trauma over and over again. They may have nightmares or flashbacks.
PTSD is diagnosed only if symptoms keep occurring for more than 1 month and are negatively affecting the childs life.
A child with PTSD may need therapy and medicine. They are at higher risk for other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
Impact Of Ptsd On Relationships And Day
PTSD can affect a persons ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends. A person with PTSD can often seem disinterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories. They may stop them from participating in family life or ignore offers of help. This can lead to loved ones feeling shut out.
It is important to remember that these behaviours are part of the problem. People with PTSD need the support of family and friends, but may not think that they need help.
It is not unusual for people with PTSD to experience other mental health problems at the same time. In fact, up to 80 per cent of people who have long-standing PTSD develop additional problems – most commonly depression, anxiety, and alcohol or othersubstance misuse. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or have developed sometime after the onset of PTSD.
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Symptoms Of Medical Trauma
It’s typical and expected for someone to have difficult reactions following significant medical interventions, but these feelings should naturally decrease over time.
Examples of some of these symptoms include:
- Persistent fear
- Avoidance of particular places and events
- Lack of self-esteem
- Sleep disturbances
Cptsd And Ptsd In The Dsm
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition , is the bible of the psychiatric world. However, CPTSD is not mentioned because the authors believed it was sufficient to lump it together with other trauma-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder.
The tragedy of complex post-traumatic stress disorder not appearing in the DSM-V is that mental health providers cannot officially give their clients this diagnosis because it is not accepted by the American Psychiatric Association, the publishers of the DSM-5.
However, there is a growing movement among those living with CPTSD and others who are advocating to have this diagnosis receive its own listing in the next edition. The reason this is vital is that the symptoms of CPTSD are different in many important ways than PTSD.
Now you may be wondering, whats the difference between complex and the other style of stress disorder,
Post-traumatic stress disorder develops when a person experiences or witnesses something which is frightening, shocking, dangerous, or scary. Most people recover from such experiences, but some people develop short-term or ongoing symptoms including re-experiencing the event through flashbacks or nightmares, avoiding places, events or objects which remind them of what they experienced, or arousal symptoms like being easily startled.
In short, any repetitive situation where the child cannot escape or believes themselves trapped with no hope of escape.
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Information For Carers Friends And Relatives
If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.
How can I get support?
You can do the following.
- Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
- Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
- Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
- Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
- Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
What is a carers assessment?
A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role.
To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.
How do I get support from my peers?
You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.
How can I support the person I care for?
You can do the following.
- Read information about PTSD.
- Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
- Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
- Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
- Help them to manage their finances.
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