Experiencing life threatening and devastating traumatic events that induce acute physical harm rarely paves way to stress disorders. Commonly referred to as the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it entails the worked up response of an individual to an inexplicable psychological trauma/stressful happening.
This article details the contingents of PTSD in brief with the aim of creating awareness in the readers thereby enabling them to confront and support the afflicted patients without getting panicked or bewildered.
Causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Physical or psychological trauma has been reported to be the main causative agents for PTSD, which might in turn be in the form of a age-inappropriate sexual assault, bullying in case of children, untimely demise of a beloved one, seeing a devastating and cruel accident, becoming a victim of kidnapping, sufferer of the any form of torture that might include excruciation at concentration camps, confronting a ravaging natural disaster, being a victim of rape, smuggling, theft, robbery and the like.
Diagnostic Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Individuals stuck with PTSD usually would have undergone trauma in the past. Very often, the remembrance of the trauma keeps disturbing them relentlessly that many resort to avoid seeing, hearing or experiencing the triggers that remind them of the trauma that they underwent.
This in turn is often visible in the form of increased irritation, anger, hyper vigilance, difficulty to sleep peacefully and often results in curtailment of normal functional routine.
Symptoms are likely to vary depending on the intensity and the duration of exposure to the traumatic event. Symptoms that prolong for more than a month necessitate immediate care and attention.
Biochemical changes in individuals suffering from PTSD constitute reduced secretion of cortisol, increased levels of catecholaminses in urine and neuropinephrine:cortisol ratios. Abnormality of the Hypothalmic-Pituatary Adrenal (HPA) axis is yet another common problem that is associated with post traumatic stress disorder.
In addition to this, brain morphological changes like a drastic reduction in hippocampus is also reported to be an aftermath of the trauma experience in individuals suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Decentralization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and medications are the common stress disorder treatment alternatives that are in vogue today.
Medications that are taken to treat post traumatic stress disorder can either be serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants. Anticonvulsant Lamotrigine has also shown promising results in treating PTSD.
Post stress administration of glucocorticoids, hydrocortisone and corticosterone has also proven to be fruitful in defending against the incidence of post traumatic stress disorders.