Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an illness that is getting more attention these days. With more soldiers returning home and suffering from this illness, it is becoming increasingly important to understand this disorder and how it affects those suffering from it.
What is PTSD
PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder. People with PTSD have been exposed to a traumatic event where they felt extreme danger and they experienced fear, helplessness or horror. As a result of the traumatic event, the person reexperiences the trauma through flashbacks, dreams, feeling like they are reliving the experience (hallucinations, delusions, including not recognizing surroundings upon waking) or having similar feelings to the event when exposed to similar cues (i.e., feeling extreme fear when hearing fireworks, etc). Someone who has PTSD may avoid conversations or thoughts related to the traumatic event or they have problems remembering the details of what happened. They may be reluctant to engage in activities or with people who remind them of the event. They may appear disinterested in being with others or doing things they used to enjoy. They may not think about or believe in a positive or hopeful future. They may seem disconnected and distant.
PTSD is a disorder that is pervasive and causes significant problems for the person who is suffering from it. It is also difficult for family and loved ones. Family may want to get together for a BBQ and not understand why their son or daughter doesn’t want to hang out with them and instead sits in his or her room alone, watching television without any expression. Children may have problems understanding why a formerly loving and demonstrative father returns from active duty and fails to respond with laughter or smiles at their silly jokes.
Treatment for PTSD is a complicated process. Traditionally, treatment included medication and talk therapy. One very effective treatment currently employed by the military is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). This treatment involves eye movement and thought processing and has been widely used for PTSD since the early 1990s. Compared to traditional talk therapy, treatment is significantly shorter in duration.
PTSD is a strong anxiety response to a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD are pervasive and encompass the sufferer’s ability to engage with family and loved ones and move on with their life. Understanding and patience from family and friends is very important to successful healing for soldiers returning home and adjusting to life at home.
Curt Sterling is a health expert specializing in pharmaceutical research, men’s health and other health topics, such as <a