PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious mental illness. It is brought on by experiencing “traumatic” events such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. It was first discovered after veterans would come back from the Vietnam War extremely depressed. They were not just depressed however, they would experience these spells of depression for weeks or months, and for some, years. For a person with PTSD, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred.
Some Symptoms of PTSD are:
- Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
- Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
- Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Negative Cognitions and Mood: This refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event.