Most, if not all, people will experience trauma at some point in their life. And depending upon the severity of the trauma, a person’s history, and their genetic predispositions, a traumatic event may lead to the onset of PTSD. PTSD doesn’t necessarily last the rest of a person’s lifetime. Many people will phase in and then out of PTSD as time separates the person from the traumatic experience. Roughly 12 million people in the U.S. experience PTSD within a given year.
Unfortunately, though, there are those who battle PTSD for the remainder of their lives. It is crucial for anyone experience PTSD to surround themselves with support and to take the time they need to heal. If you suspect someone you love has PTSD there are a few things to know to aid them in their healing process.
What Is PTSD?
“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.”
If you experience a traumatic event, you may have short-term problems adjusting, but these problems typically get better over time. If the symptoms worsen, persist for months or years, and restrict your daily life, you may be experiencing PTSD.
What Are The Risk Factors?
PTSD can happen at any age, regardless of gender, and affect anyone who survived a physical or psychological assault, a disaster, accident, or another serious event. The National Center for PTSD says nearly seven of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point. But some get PTSD without experiencing danger, including those who suffered the loss of a loved one or experienced another incident in their personal lives.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a type of medicine developed and tested in the early 1960s as a form of anesthesia. In high doses, it can quickly render someone unconscious before surgery or medical treatment; in lower doses, it creates a sense of euphoria and sometimes detachment from reality, making it popular for treating symptoms of mental illness and chronic pain. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a human anesthetic in 1970.
ARE THERE OTHER CONDITIONS RELATED TO PTSD?
- Acute stress disorder features symptoms that occur between three to 30 days following the event. You could relive the trauma repeatedly, experience flashbacks, and feel numbness or detachment from yourself.
- Adjustment disorder features emotional or behavioral symptoms which are more serious than what could be fairly expected in relation to what happened.
- Reactive attachment disorder happens mostly during early childhood when there’s a fundamental absence of comfort, stimulation, and affection, or problems forming stable attachments.
How Can I Tell If A Loved One Has PTSD?
Identifying signs of PTSD in a loved one can be difficult, making it even harder to encourage that person to get diagnosed and arrange follow-up care. But it’s not impossible. To tell if a loved one has posttraumatic stress disorder, watch for the following.
- Flashbacks and bad dreams, with symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
- Disturbing thoughts
- Circumventing events, objects, or places that serve as reminders of what happened
- Avoiding thoughts or emotions related to what happened
Arousal and reactivity symptoms:
- Being easily frightened
- Tension or “on edge” sensations
- Problems sleeping
- Anger-fueled outbursts
Cognition and mood symptoms:
- Memory issues with key features of what happened
- Bad thoughts about oneself or humanity
- Twisted feelings like blame or guilt
- Lack of interest in enjoyable pursuits
Many of these symptoms can often be treated with medicine like ketamine, which may allow you to regain control of your daily life.
While identifying PTSD symptoms is important, its potential causes should also be considered. Doctors and researchers haven’t identified the exact reason why some people develop PTSD. Like other mental health problems, posttraumatic stress disorder is likely triggered by a complex brew of:
- “Stressful experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you’ve gone through in your life”
- Inherited mental health risks, like a family record of anxiety and depression
- Your personality or temperament
- How your brain regulates the hormones and chemicals your body releases in reaction to stress
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosing PTSD normally involves getting a physical examination, where a medical professional may perform tests to uncover a health problem triggering your symptoms. If a medical issue is identified, your healthcare provider may recommend a specific treatment plan. If there’s no medical reason for your symptoms, you may be referred to a mental health specialist for more diagnosis. In this case, you’ll be asked about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as triggers, or if there’s something in your or your family’s background that may result in PTSD.
Treatment could include a combination of psychotherapy, self-help strategies, or medicine like ketamine.
If you suspect someone close to you is suffering from PTSD, be open and supportive. Vocalize that support and encourage them to seek treatment. Do not try to take on the full weight of their recovery. While there are many routes for healing PTSD, professional help is of the utmost importance.
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