Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): 3 Things You Should Know

Manage the symptoms, minimize the painful memories and continue with life.


Any traumatic event or experience can put one at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Generally, the condition may develop after any circumstance in which safety is severely threatened. For most, it's a relatively normal response to feeling anxious, sad, frightened, or disconnected. However, if the feelings caused by the trauma seem to linger uncontrollably, it's best to consult a professional, as these are signs of PTSD.  

Most associate the condition with involvement in military combat, assault, or rape, but any event that brings about overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that leaves emotional scarring may lead to PTSD. 

The condition can affect a person who experienced the traumatic event firsthand, those who witnessed the ordeal, and even those dealing with the aftermath. Regardless of the cause, timely treatment, seeking support, and developing coping skills may help manage the symptoms, minimize the painful memories and continue with life.

One way to ensure a head start in managing possible PTSD is checking out Well Being Counseling Online and other similar sources online. If you or a loved one is experiencing PTSD, here are three crucial things to keep in mind.  

1. Causes Of PTSD

When a person undergoes a traumatic or stressful event, the nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight response. It involves rapid pounding of the heart, rising of the blood pressure, tightening of the muscles, and heightening of reaction speed and strength. If the threat or danger is no longer present, the nervous system soothes the body by bringing everything down to its normal state.   

PTSD develops if a person experiences high-stress levels in one event or scenario. Even if the threat or danger has already passed, the nervous system gets stuck in a heightened alert and struggles to return the body to its normal state. In effect, the person is unable to move on from the event. Generally, managing the condition involves helping the nervous system return to its normal state. Doing so allows the person to recuperate and move on from the trauma.  

In most traumatic events, almost every person endures some of the symptoms of PTSD. Most often end up having bad dreams, difficulty thinking about the event or a constant feeling of fear. Generally, such responses are considered normal after traumatic happenings, and most are brief. It may last for days or weeks, but eventually, it subsides. On the other hand, a person is likely to have PTSD if these symptoms last for a long time, making a person feel worse.   

2. Indications  

The signs and symptoms of PTSD vary from each individual. The reason is that a person's nervous system is unique, and stress tolerance varies.  

While the symptoms may manifest hours or days after a traumatic event, it may also take weeks, months, or even years before they develop. In some cases, the symptoms arise without any warning. Others are often triggered by something that reminds the person of the traumatic event, such as scent, noise, words, or an image.  

It's crucial to remember that while each experiences the condition differently, the symptoms include: 

  • Flashbacks, intrusive memories, nightmares, or intense physical or mental reactions if the person remembers the traumatic ordeal. 
  • Avoidance and numbness typically manifest by avoiding anything that serves as a striking reminder of the trauma, losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, unable to recall aspects of the event, or feeling emotionally numb and detached from others.  
  • Irritability, sleep issues, hypervigilance, angry outbursts, easily startled, and recklessness or self-destructive behavior.  
  • Negative thought and mood alterations can manifest as feeling alone or alienated, depression, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, feeling mistrust, shame, guilt, and self-blame. 

As you can see, the condition's symptoms will vary for each individual. Unfortunately, some cases of PTSD often progress to depression, making it difficult for the person to cope and get over the traumatic experience.  

3. Management  

If PTSD is likely, it may be best to see a doctor or mental health professional to discuss treatment options. Seeking timely treatment is the key to making it easier to overcome the condition.  

Nowadays, most treatment modalities involve the psychological aspect through counseling to pinpoint what's happening and develop ways to manage reactions. In some cases, the doctor may also recommend medications.  

It's crucial to note that the key to the management of PTSD involves confronting the traumatic event, which is called trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. The treatment exposes the individual gradually to feelings and scenarios and eventually replaces irrational thoughts about the event with a balanced-out perspective. A trauma-focused treatment may help lessen the symptoms, minimize anxiety and depression, and improve the quality of life.  

Family therapy is also a treatment option that allows loved ones to know what the person is going through. Generally, it helps an individual work out relationship issues as a family.  

Final Thoughts  

PTSD can be debilitating, but timely treatment is the key to allowing a person to overcome it easily. By knowing everything about PTSD, you can make the right decision if you suspect you're developing one or if it's a family or friend. Remember that seeking early treatment should be the priority to get life on the right track again.