PTSD is short for post traumatic stress disorder. It is an anxiety disorder caused by a traumatic event that was harmful to the person, or threatened harm to the person, or that the person witnessed. Some examples of these traumatic events include violent deaths, car accidents, rape, kidnapping, fires, bombs and combat. With all the traumatic events our troops witness and experience during wartime, it is no surprise that so many of our troops suffer from PTSD. Our troops get shot at, they shoot back and they watch people die, then they have to deal with the bodies afterward. They get blown up by explosives. They get ambushed. It's war they're dealing with over there and it's not pretty.
PTSD can vary in different people from mild to very severe. As of writing this, there is no way to know which individuals are more likely to develop PTSD than others because it doesn't discriminate. Anyone can get it regardless of religion, race or wealth. PTSD can happen to any man woman or child, from any background, anywhere at anytime. Aside from avoiding any potentially traumatic events (which is nearly impossible, even for Bubble Boy) there is nothing you can do to prevent PTSD from happening to you.
Symptoms usually begin within three months of the traumatic event, but sometimes it can be years before symptoms emerge. PTSD symptoms can last anywhere from a month to many years. Symptoms of PTSD may include:
- emotional numbness
- jumpiness, startling easily
- nightmares, often reliving the trauma
- flashbacks of the trauma, often triggered by sights, smells or sounds
- loss of interest in things they once liked
- emotional distance from people they were close to before
- fake smiles
- sleeplessness, insomnia
- thoughts of suicide
These symptoms typically snowball into further complications such as domestic violence, wrecklessness, marital issues, drug abuse and more. People suffering from PTSD may develop addictions to alcohol, drugs, adrenaline, pornography, etc as a way to cope with their feelings or as a way to escape them.
Treatment of PTSD usually involves talking about your feelings openly and honestly in group therapy sessions with other people who feel the same way you do. It can also involve medications to ease anxiety and help you sleep better, but if you're on a lot of medication you should be closely monitored and extreme caution should be taken so you don't overmedicate. Some of those drugs can be very powerful. More options can include cognitive behavioral therapy, anger management, relaxation techniques, psychotherapy, marital therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and more. Because of the wide range of symptoms and other isssues that go hand in hand with PTSD, a person who suffers from PTSD needs to be treated as a whole, not just for PTSD.
This was just a brief overview of PTSD. We also have many links in our Resources & Links section that you may find useful in your search for more information.