Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. PTSD can occur in people of any age and may even inflict children. It’s not uncommon for people with PTSD to feel depressed, guilty, or ashamed. They may also have problems sustaining close relationships. Read on to learn more about the causes and complications of PTSD.
Causes of PTSD
PTSD may be hard to diagnose, and it may be hard to identify the exact causes of this condition. In some cases, patients may be unwilling or reluctant to talk about it or disclose their traumatic event. Here are some prominent causes:
There is a strong link between childhood physical abuse and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Children who have experienced physical abuse often experience feelings of fear, helplessness, and isolation. These feelings can lead to PTSD when the child grows up. Studies have shown that adults who were physically abused as children are more likely to develop PTSD than those who were not.
Accidents and Injury
Accidents are a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People who sustained injuries like fractures or extensive wounds may find it difficult to get back to driving or other activities resulting from the injury. They may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts about the event. They may also have difficulty sleeping, feel irritable and on edge, and be easily startled. PTSD can profoundly affect a person’s life, making it difficult to work, maintain relationships, and even perform basic daily activities.
Combat exposure is a significant risk factor for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though PTSD affects about 8 million American adults, veterans are especially prone to it. And what’s worse is that they often lack access to appropriate treatment. There are several reasons combat exposure is a significant risk factor for PTSD.
- Combat exposure is often associated with high levels of stress and trauma. This can cause service members to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Combat exposure can be very unpredictable and chaotic, making it difficult for an individual to process and make sense of the experience.
- Combat exposure can be very isolating and lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Complications Associated with PTSD
If left untreated, PTSD can lead to the following complications:
Depression is a common complication of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is estimated that more than half of people with PTSD also experience depression. Depression can make it difficult to cope with the symptoms of PTSD and can also increase the risk of suicide. There are several reasons why depression and PTSD often go hand-in-hand:
- The experience of trauma can lead to a sense of helplessness.
- Trauma can disrupt the brain’s normal functioning, leading to changes in mood and thought patterns.
- People with PTSD often have difficulty sleeping, which can further contribute to feelings of depression.
If you are experiencing both PTSD and depression, it is crucial to seek professional help. Treatment often includes therapy and medication, and lifestyle changes.
Anxiety can be caused by many things, such as reliving the trauma, avoiding reminders, and having negative beliefs about oneself or the world. Anxiety can make it hard to go about your daily life and lead to other problems, such as depression, substance abuse, and difficulty sleeping.
PTSD can lead to feelings of anxiety, guilt, and shame, which can, in turn, lead to disordered eating. People with PTSD may turn to food as a way to cope with their emotions, or they may avoid eating altogether to avoid triggering trauma memories. Either way, PTSD can severely impact someone’s relationship with food.
Eating disorders are complex and require treatment from a team of experts. With the proper treatment, however, people with PTSD can learn to manage their symptoms and live healthy, fulfilling lives.
Traumatic events include natural disasters, sexual assault, or warfare. People with PTSD may have difficulty returning to their everyday lives and feel hopeless, detached, or suicidal.
Symptoms of PTSD
People with PTSD often avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event they experienced. This can include people, places, activities, and even thoughts or feelings. Avoidance is a way of numbing oneself from the pain of the trauma. But it can also make it harder to recover from PTSD because it keeps the person from facing and dealing with what happened.
Anger and Trust Issues
This can include feeling anxious, angry, and hopeless. The person may also feel disconnected from others and have trouble trusting people.
Bad memory flashbacks are a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. They can be very vivid and upsetting and make it hard to function in daily life. Flashbacks can happen at any time without warning. They can be triggered by anything that reminds the person of the traumatic event, such as a sound, a smell, or a sight.
PTSD Treatment Options
There are several ways to manage PTSD, and it is essential to seek professional help if you have experienced a traumatic event. Some treatment methods include:
- Psychotherapy: This can help you process and make sense of your trauma and develop healthy coping mechanisms.
- Medication: Certain medications can help to ease symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety and depression.
- Support Groups: Connecting with others who have experienced similar traumas can be incredibly helpful. These groups can provide support and understanding.
- Relaxation Techniques: Methods such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help to ease the symptoms of PTSD.
PTSD can be a very debilitating condition, but there are effective treatments available. While the exact cause of PTSD is unknown, it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Olympia Center for TMS and Psychiatry can help you heal and move on from your trauma. Contact us now to learn more about PTSD and its effective treatment options including TMS therapy.