Trauma and PTSD

Overview

Trauma is a serious, physical injury. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is caused by different sorts of trauma or intense stress. PTSD tends to happen after a dangerous or scary event, though not every person with PTSD has gone through trauma. Dangerous experiences can act as triggers for your body to fight or flight. At this stage, stress hormones can flood in.

Most people bounce back but for some people the problems caused as a result of these experiences, can linger. The effects of PTSD can last a long time (your doctor may call them chronic), or they can go away quickly.

People who’ve been through a traumatic event can feel unsafe or scared. Sometimes, PTSD comes after a sudden, unexpected event like the death of a loved one. People with PTSD often also have another anxiety disorder or depression. People with substance abuse issues are also more likely to have PTSD.

You may have PTSD if you have all of the following symptoms for at least a month:

  • Flashbacks or bad dreams
  • You stay away from places, events, or feelings related to your traumatic event
  • Tense or angry feelings, or trouble sleeping
  • Persistent guilt or negative emotions
  • Memory problems
  • Disinterest in things you once enjoyed

How is it diagnosed?

You don’t have to go through PTSD alone. A mental health professional can help you feel control over your life again. Doctors with experience treating mental illness, like psychiatrists or psychologists, are the ones to turn to if you’re concerned that you or a loved one may have PTSD. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have trouble with any medications you take. You might need a different combination of drugs or a different dose or schedule to get the right fit.

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