Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Coined in the mid 1970s after being used in a working group finding presented to the Committee of Reactive Disorders, the term posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) became formally recognized in 1980.

Known as a severe anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to an event that results in psychological trauma, PTSD is diagnosed after symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, professional or other important areas of functioning.

Symptoms include are grouped into three main categories:

–       Repeated re-experiencing of the original trauma:

Flashback episodes, recurrent frightening memories of the event, repeated dreams.

–       Avoidance

Feelings of detachment, lack of interest in any activity, feeling as though you don’t care about anything

–       Arousal:

Difficulty concentrating, outbursts of anger, difficulty sleeping

Affecting stress hormones and chemicals carrying information between the nerves, the exact cause of PTSD is unknown.  However, it is agreed that psychological, genetic, physical and social factors all play a role.

Thankfully, PTSD is a disorder that can be managed by therapy, with studies showing cognitive behavioral programs to have the strongest demonstrated efficacy.

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