Frequently Asked Questions About PTSD

1. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event in some people.

2. How is stress different from PTSD?

Regular stress occurs due to daily tension, leading to depression or anxiety. Whereas post-traumatic stress develops following trauma or repeated trauma, causing symptoms like stress.

3. What is a traumatic event?

A traumatic event is considered when a person experiences, witnesses an event or repeated events that involve serious injuries, physical damage, actual or threatened death

4. What are the types of PTSD?

  1. Normal stress

  2. Acute stress reaction

  3. Uncomplicated PTSD

  4. Comorbid PTSD

  5. Complex PTSD

Based on the symptoms and other diagnostic parameters your doctor will identify the type of PTSD and provide right management options.

5. Who can develop PTSD?

PTSD can occur in any individual of any age. War veterans, survivors of sexual or physical assault, disasters, accidents, abuse, or any other traumatic incidents are more likely to suffer from PTSD.

6. What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Every patient experiences PTSD differently. For some, symptoms may occur within a few hours or days after a traumatic event, while sometimes it may take weeks, months, or years.

Symptoms include:

  1. Re-experiencing symptoms: Flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive memories of the trauma episode.

  2. Avoidance symptoms: Loss of interest in activities and life in general, being emotionally numb, avoiding places, objects or events that remind the incident.

  3. Hyper-arousal symptoms: Tensed and irritated, sleeping difficulty, angry outbursts, hypervigilance, aggressive or self-destructive behaviour.

  4. Negative symptoms: Depression, hopelessness, feeling of mistrust, betrayal, guilt or shame

7. What symptoms do children with PTSD experience?

Symptoms of PTSD in children differ from those seen in adults. PTSD symptoms in children may   include:

  1. Losing prior acquired skills

  2. Trouble sleeping and nightmares

  3. Fear of being separated from parents

  4. Aches and pains without any evident cause

  5. Aggressive and irritable

  6. Newer phobias and anxieties that are not related to the trauma

  7. Acting out the trauma episode through stories, plays, or drawings

8. How is PTSD diagnosed?

A psychiatrist or a psychologist can help in diagnosing the condition of PTSD by obtaining a history and complete assessment. A PTSD patient experiences the following for a minimum of one month:

  1. At least 1 re-experiencing symptom

  2. At least 2 hyper-arousal symptoms

  3. At least 3 avoidance symptoms

  4. Symptoms that affect the daily routine

9. How can PTSD be treated effectively?

Managing PTSD includes:

  1. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy

  2. Medications

  3. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

  4. Family therapy

10. How long can PTSD last?

The intensity and duration of the disorder vary greatly in individuals. Patients with untreated PTSD may experience the condition for a longer duration.

For some patients, symptoms may gradually decrease over time. While others may experience an increase in their symptoms when they come across reminders of the traumatic episode.

11. How can one help a family member who has PTSD?

  1. Learn and understand about PTSD and its effects on the patient

  2. Keep a track of medicine, the therapy, and the follow-up visits

  3. Listen and take measures to understand what the patient feels

  4. Plan activities involving the family members

  5. Encourage participation in social activities, exercises, or other measures to keep the patient calm

12. What can one do to cope with PTSD?

  1. Challenge the sense of hopelessness

  2. Practice relaxation techniques

  3. Reach out to close friends or family for support

  4. Confide in an individual you trust

  5. Spend more time in activities and with positive people

  6. Follow a healthy lifestyle


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