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PTSD Part 1: Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

When it comes to anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often the one people forget about, except under the most extreme circumstances. The fact is, people who have gone through a major trauma like war or being in a life or death accident are not the only ones who can have this disorder.  Our veteran war-fighters are among the highest population of our citizens to be the most likely to have PTSD, and it is for this reason that I want to bring awareness to the horrors of PTSD and ways that we can help.

As people become more familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is more important than ever to get treatment and find a good support system. It is not quite the same as anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder, which tend to be easier to diagnose.

With PTSD, people can range from someone who witnessed a crime to an individual who faces something frightening to them as a child, who is still struggling with it. These events can range from moderate to severe, and still trigger the flashbacks and panic attacks that accompany PTSD.

This report is going to provide you more information about this type of anxiety disorder so that you know what it is like, how to notice the signs and diagnose it, and what treatment options are available.

Before we talk about how to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, letís go over the basics of this anxiety disorder and what makes it different from others you may come across. You probably know the basics of PTSD based on the name alone, but here is more information about this type of disorder.

What is PTSD?
The basic definition of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health illness following a traumatic event. Now, it can get much more complex than that, but it is essentially a type of anxiety that was caused and is triggered by the event that occurred. As mentioned in the previous section, this can be an event people often think of, such as being in combat or seeing a crime committed right in front of them. Other people might experience events that donít always seem traumatic, but are for the individual. 

We will go over this a little more in the section about the causes of PTSD, but this can include being a victim of sexual assault, being verbally or physically abused, going through emotional trauma, witnessing a natural disaster, being in a bad car accident, or even just being injured in the workplace.

Why it is Sometimes Missed
There are a few reasons people often miss the signs, including doctors. The first reason is because with PTSD, the effects of the disorder donít always occur right away. Many people experience shock following a traumatic event, some worse than others. But the effects like fear, worry, and panic attacks often go away over time.

Someone with PTSD will start to experience worsening symptoms as time goes on, instead of them improving or going away. At this point, it is sometimes just referred to as shock, but it has actually transformed into a type of anxiety. This is especially true when the flashbacks, violent outbursts, and severe panic attacks begin.

How it is Different From Other Anxiety Disorders
As you might have guessed, the effects of PTSD can be very similar to other anxiety disorder, even depression. People with post-traumatic stress disorder have a type of panic attack, though it is often different from someone with generalized anxiety or panic attack disorder experience. These are usually related to flashbacks or other triggers.

Another thing to understand is that it is very possible for someone to have both PTSD and another anxiety disorder simultaneously. They might have had anxiety prior to the event, then developed PTSD. Other people can develop multiple anxiety disorders all from the same traumatic event.

In future articles, we will discuss just how complex PTSD can be, but that there are plenty of ways to deal with it and live a normal life.


Other PTSD Articles in This Series:






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