From the name itself we know that this is a kind of mental situation developed after a person goes through some traumatic experiences in life.
In the article about ‘Victims of Trafficking’, I have referred to a few of the symptoms and reactions of PTSD, and now we are going to know more about it in detail.
A traumatic event is one which can shake you from within and leaves a deep impression on your mind, for e.g. rape, accident, bomb-blast, hijack, war, terrorism, death, destruction etc.; physical and emotional reactions that a person gives after such an incident are treated as symptoms of PTSD, i.e. caused due to stress after trauma.
Who are more prone?
A traumatic event doesn’t directly conclude that the person will become a bearer of PTSD. It has been observed that events like accident, war, death, car- crash and the like do not generally erupt PTSD; it is more probable in case of personal assaults and attacks like rape, kidnap, domestic violence etc. Hence rape victims and those subject to sexual abuse, molestation, flesh trafficking and physical assaults turn to be sufferers of PTSD.
Higher rate of PTSD has been observed among foster care children as well, who are separated from their parents in childhood by the Governmental laws or alike.
People who have experienced some sort of racial or social discrimination in their early life are more prone to the stress caused after a violent event. For e.g. studies showed that among American troops in Vietnam, Black veterans had nearly 2.5 fold the risk of developing war zone-related PTSD as compared to white/other veterans. Hispanics had more than three times the risk. Also, Hispanic veterans who reported experiencing racial discrimination during their service displayed more symptoms of PTSD than Hispanic veterans who did not; reports Wikipedia.
Those who are already prepared with the probability and potentials of a threat-causing incident are less likely to get affected by it. For e.g. soldiers in general are well-adapted to traumatic situations and do not become subjects of PTSD in general.
Causes of PTSD
- PTSD can occur when a traumatic situation of event triggers hyper-active adrenaline response, consequentially creating difficult neurological patterns in the brain, which last for a long period of time after the trauma.
- Sometimes, PTSD can be hereditary. There is evidence that those with a genetically smaller hippocampus are more likely to develop PTSD following a traumatic event. It uses same genetic influences that are common to other psychiatric disorders like anxiety, panic and depression. Hence causatives are also genetically modified; if mother has been a regular user of drugs, alcohol or nicotine substances, child can be affected by PTSD.
- Drugs abuse and other forms of substance abuse are in general associated with posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Damage to the pre-frontal cortex in brain can be actually protective towards later and deeper developments of PTSD symptoms, whereas amygdala which is more responsible for emotional reactions and fear-related issues can actually make the brain more vulnerable to PTSD when affected by trauma.
Symptoms of PTSD
- Absurd dreams and nightmares are common symptoms which might be evoked from traumatic experiences.
- A feeling like reliving the incident of stress can haunt you; the images of the incident can flash in your memory, which is termed flashback.
- Some smell or vision or present situation can remind you of your past trauma, which is like a trigger, that recreates the event for you and affects your senses.
- Feeling of distrust towards everything and everybody becomes common.
- A loud noise can startle you.
- Sleeping problems can be symptoms of PTSD.
- Purposeful avoidance of threatening sights or situations.
- Eradication of positive emotions like love, care, compassion etc.
- Sudden anger reactions.
Symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person and different people are affected differently with the disorder. However, if these kinds of symptoms last for over three months, PTSD diagnosis is required.
Remedies of PTSD
Transcendental meditation or TM:
Transcendental meditation or TM is suggested by experts for patients suffering from PTSD. This is an easy process and requires only 20 minutes of your day, where you let your mind and body loose, just to relax.
There is no need to concentrate or focus your mind; you also don’t need to be ‘mindful’ about your thoughts during meditation. Just sit still and breathe to get sufficient rest during transcendental meditation to regulate your neural activities.
Medical experts these days, are more biased towards drug-less treatments and hence PTSD can be taken to them, if your problem is getting severe.
EMDR (eye movement techniques):
EMDR uses eye movement techniques (or sometimes sound or other sensory stimuli) under the supervision of a trained EMDR psychotherapist to allow the brain to reprocess traumatic memories.
Recognized as an effective therapy for PTSD by more than two dozen research studies, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Department of Defence/Veteran’s Administration, it can significantly shorten recovery time and because it only requires the patient/client to focus briefly on the trauma, it is less likely than traditional talk therapy to activate the trauma.
Neurofeedback techniques use low-frequency electrical signals to help the brain shift into a state in which it is easier to process emotions, moving it out of stuck patterns induced by trauma. Improvement may be felt in one to three sessions.
Other counselling and meditation techniques include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (also effective for suicidal thoughts), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Yoga and Guided imagery (another form of meditation) which are often used by psychiatrists to help PTSD patients.
However, talking is important to get rid of nasty past. The more you speak up about your fear, the better emotional stability you will gain.