What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is what happens if your stress over the tragedy, the traumatic event that occurred in your life, is never taken seriously enough to be healed through counselling, self-help, medication, or anything at all. It is a lifelong condition that occurs initially very much like the after-effects of tragedy for most sufferers but continues long after the event with such severity that it has been related to violence and regression. PTSD is most commonly seen in war veterans, accident victims, and people that have lost a loved one. The symptoms of PTSD can last for more than a month after the event. Children may not show the signs of PTSD as clearly as their adult counterparts, but the symptoms can be seen in the way that they play and interact with others around them. In the case of adults, PTSD can often result in suicide due to an overwhelming sense of helplessness.

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What signs and symptoms should we be on the lookout for?

The first thing that you must understand is that most people that are affected by a tragic event will not be prone to PTSD. It is not as common as popular media has made it out to seem. That being said, any person that has experienced a tragedy (even if it was not first-hand) is at risk. PTSD is not limited to the direct interaction with a tragic event but can be experienced by people who have not been directly involved in an accident or seen a loved one die. While the symptoms of PTSD vary, they tend to appear early on following the event of the tragedy; usually within the first three months are when the warning signs first appear. People with PTSD tend to relive/re-experience an event that has occurred, they may actively avoid certain instances that remind them of the event, they may be easily aroused to reaction by reminders of the event (such as soldiers returning from war reacting violently to the sight of uniforms or war films), and they may suffer severe mood swings and periods of depression.

Let’s say, for instance, Jane’s tragedy has caused her to suffer PTSD and she experiences the symptom of reliving the event in conjunction with arousal at such reminders. Should she see the same banner on a car for the same Sign Company that she was involved in her collision with, Jane may suffer a flashback, which can be harmful to both herself and others.

How does one treat PTSD?

Treatment of PTSD is similar to any normal tragedy-treatment. As per the usual avenues: reflection, meditation, reading, self-help, vacations, therapy – these things can all be solutions to the problem. But, in the end, where PTSD is concerned, the best solution is often medication and psychotherapy. In such an instance, the psyche-scarring is too deep for self-care to do the trick. Watch out for the signs and be wary of ignoring anything that may seem suspicious if you or a loved one are showing the aforementioned symptoms.