"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? Can I actually have it if I've never been to war?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental illness that happens in some people after a shocking, terrible, or dangerous event. These events are called traumas.

After trauma, it's common to struggle with fear, anxiety, and sadness. You could have disturbing memories or find it difficult to sleep. Most people improve with time. But whenever you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, these thoughts and feelings don't go away. They last for months and years and might even worsen.

PTSD causes problems in your every day life, similar to relationships and the workplace. It can even have a negative impact in your physical health. But with treatment, you possibly can live a satisfying life.

During trauma, your body responds to a threat by going into “flight-or-fight” mode. It releases stress hormones like adrenaline and norepinephrine to provide you a lift of energy. Your heart beats faster. Your brain also pauses a few of its normal tasks, similar to storing short-term memories.

PTSD causes your brain to get stuck at risk mode. Even if there isn't a longer any danger, the extent of alert stays high. Your body continues to send stress signals that result in PTSD symptoms. Studies show that the a part of the brain that processes fear and emotions (the amygdala) is more energetic in individuals with PTSD.

Over time, PTSD changes your brain. The area that controls your memory (the hippocampus) becomes smaller. For this reason, experts recommend in search of treatment early.

There are many. These can include disturbing flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, emotional numbness, outbursts of anger, and feelings of guilt. You might also avoid things that remind you of the event and lose interest in stuff you enjoy.

Symptoms often begin inside 3 months of trauma. But they might not appear until years later. They last not less than a month. Without treatment, you possibly can suffer from PTSD for years and even the remainder of your life. Over time, you might feel higher or worse. For example, a news report about an assault on television can trigger overwhelming memories of 1's own assault.

PTSD affects your life. This makes it harder so that you can trust, communicate, and solve problems. This may cause problems in your relationships with friends, family and colleagues. It also affects your physical health. In fact, studies show that it increases the chance of heart disease and digestive disorders.

PTSD was first described in war veterans. It was called “shell shock” and “battle fatigue.” But PTSD can affect anyone at any age, including children. In fact, about 8% of Americans will develop this disease in some unspecified time in the future of their lives.

Women are twice as more likely to develop PTSD. This is because they usually tend to be victims of sexual assault. They also blame themselves more for a traumatic event than men.

Approximately 50% of ladies and 60% of men experience emotional trauma in some unspecified time in the future of their lives. But not everyone develops PTSD. The following aspects increase your risk:

  • Previous experience with trauma similar to child abuse
  • You have one other mental health problem similar to depression and anxiety or a drug problem
  • An in depth member of the family, similar to a parent, has a mental health problem similar to post-traumatic stress disorder or depression
  • Working in a job that will expose you to traumatic events (military or emergency medicine)
  • Lack of social support from family and friends

There isn't any cure for this condition. But you possibly can successfully treat it with therapy. Your doctor might also prescribe medication similar to antidepressants. With proper treatment, some people's PTSD symptoms can stop. Others may develop into less intense.

It's essential to hunt help for those who think you might be affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. Without it, the condition often doesn't improve.