Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), also called Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS), is a collective name given to an array of symptoms resulting from exposure to a traumatic event.
An intense or unexpected event accompanied by overwhelming feelings of helplessness can leave a person in shock. If this shock, or put more specifically, “freeze” response persists after the event, we can conclude that the person in question suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; that is, the nervous system has been unable to regulate itself back to a normal range of health or homeostasis.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is often associated with incidental or repeated exposure to events such as rape, traffic accidents, assault, war, abuse, molestation or surgery. There are many symptomatic conditions that fit the bill, which will be discussed further on this website.
History of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The distress and affects of trauma have been around as long as there have been natural disasters and human conflict. The term PTSD is relatively new, however, and was previously referred to as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue,” a condition often experienced by soldiers returning home from conflict areas.
Nowadays the term is used to indicate any post-traumatic symptom that causes severe disruption to someone’s life.
Identifying Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD occurs in people who are directly exposed to a traumatic event, either as witness or participant, but can happen also to those dealing with sufferers of traumatic stress. Think of law enforcement officers, rescue, emergency, and health care workers. This is commonly referred to as “secondary exposure.” The detrimental effects of traumatization can be just the same, however, as it is in “direct exposure”.
There might be a delayed response after a traumatic event before symptoms start to appear. In some cases it can even be years after the event, depending on the compensating mechanisms of the person concerned. A minor accident or conflict, literally the last straw, could offset a delicately kept balance and develop into full Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The varieties of symptoms are manifold depending on the character and resilience of the person. Common symptoms include avoidance behavior, reenactment, substance abuse and various addictions, flashbacks and nightmares, amnesia of the event, social isolation behavior, chronic pains, and emotional instability.