If you have experienced a significant trauma in your life you may be suffering from the lingering effects of Posttraumatic Stress. If the following guest article reminds you of your own feelings, or of a loved one, know that there are natural methods available to help…
Things You Need to Know about PTSD
by Ryan Rivera, www.CalmClinic.com
To feel terrified, dejected, restless, and disconnected are but natural for people who have witnessed a very traumatic event. The emotions that make us human are sure to be shaken up as we try to internalize and make sense of the disconcerting experience. With time, the feelings will soon fade. The once happy and carefree “us” will soon be back. We will regain our normal life.
But sometimes, there are cases wherein the trauma is just so overpowering that no matter what we do we just cannot move past it. The event haunts us not only in our sleep but also in our wakeful days. We constantly feel the danger we have felt when we first experienced those painful and harrowing incidents.
If you are one of the many people who have gone through the same distressing and frightful experience, and are having difficulties getting back to your normal life and feeling safe again, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a serious mental health condition that develops after a person has faced or experienced a very terrifying event such as combat, natural disasters, rape or other physical assault. Unlike many other infirmities, PTSD cannot be determined through any physical scientific fact. It can only be understood by someone who has suffered something utterly painful or frightening.
People who have gone through such traumatic experiences often have impairments in functioning later on. But the severity of the symptoms differs from person to person because certain factors come to play. Factors such as one’s life experiences before the event, one’s natural ability to cope with stress, seriousness of the traumatic event, and the kind of assistance and support one receives from family, friends, and professional workers immediately after the trauma contribute to how a person assimilates the experience.
Since a good number of trauma survivors are strangers as to how trauma affects other people, they often have problems accepting the stress of what is happening to them. They often blame themselves for how things turned out, causing them to wallow in despair and self-anger.
What are the common symptoms of trauma?
Symptoms of PTSD most often manifest themselves within three months following exposure to the traumatic event. These symptoms tend to develop gradually or appear unpredictably. At other times, these symptoms are set off by particular sounds, images, words, or odors similar to the ones present at the original traumatic event.
While everyone experiences PTSD in their own personal way, the symptoms experienced by these people can be categorized into three main types.
1. Re-living Symptoms
Trauma survivors repeatedly relive their traumatic experience through their thoughts and memories. The same mental, emotional and physical distresses that have occurred during or after the trauma are re-triggered and re-experienced. These may include:
Upsetting memories or images about the trauma
- Flashbacks (feeling as if the trauma is happening again)
- Nightmares or bad dreams
- Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the traumatic event,
2. Avoidance Symptoms
The upsetting feelings and memories triggered by the re-living symptoms of PTSD often push people to avoid reminders of the trauma. This causes them to stay away from certain people, places, thoughts and other situations that may remind them of the witnessed event. This can lead to feelings of isolation, separation, indifference and detachment from friends and family, as well as disinterest in activities that the person may have once enjoyed. Avoidance symptoms include:
Avoiding topics and conversations about the event
- Staying away from people, places, activities that remind of the trauma
- Problems remembering significant parts of what happened during the trauma
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feelings of disconnection from the world
- Lose of interest in previous hobbies
3. Increased emotional arousal and anxiety symptoms
With the inability to cope with the stress of the event, trauma patients often develop physical health symptoms and problems. These problems, which have their roots from fear, include:
- Outbursts of anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Intense physical reactions, similar to anxiety disorder symptoms such as anxiety, fear, racing heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and muscle tension
It is only natural for PTSD patients to want to avoid upsetting memories and painful emotions. The symptoms are absolutely overwhelming and uncontrollable. They can lead one to feel depressed, ashamed, and behaviorally aggressive not only to oneself but also to others. However, trying to push these memories away, locking them up, and numbing yourself from feeling anything at all are poor ways of dealing with the trauma. It is important for trauma survivors to understand and realize that avoiding the issue and not seeking treatment for their problems could only mean persistence of the trauma symptoms. Hence, PTSD patients are encouraged to accept that they have difficulties dealing with the traumatic event and start seeking professional help. Without willing to help themselves, they will forever be fearful and unable to fully enjoy the beauty of truly living.
Ryan Rivera is an anxiety disorder survivor. He credits his survival through the use of natural methods and techniques. He shares his story at www.calmclinic.com.