PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual’s ability to cope. The symptoms for PTSD include re-experiencing the original trauma through flashbacks or nightmares. People affected by PTSD can experience increased arousal such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger, and hypervigilance. To be diagnosed with PTSD it is required that symptoms last more than one month and cause significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Not long after leaving the Military I was diagnosed with PTSD. Up until then I could not figure out what was happening to me and my family witnessed many changes of personality and were in short scared. They new I had changed and they new they could not do anything to help. In short I had become a ticking time bomb and the bomb was set to self destruct. A good five years went past before I was diagnosed and I was at last able with the aid of medication and therapy to confront my own demons.
PTSD is believed to be caused by experiencing any of a wide range of events
Experiencing or witnessing childhood or adult physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
Experiencing or witnessing physical assault, adult experiences of sexual assault, accidents, drug addiction, illnesses, or medical complications.
Employment in occupations exposed to war such as soldiers.
Getting a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness can trigger PTSD.
Children or adults may develop PTSD symptoms by experiencing bullying.
I could go on for there are many other causes that can bring on this horrible affliction.
PTSD symptoms may result when a traumatic event causes an over-reactive adrenaline response, which creates deep neurological patterns in the brain. These patterns can persist long after the event that triggered the fear, making an individual hyper-responsive to future fearful situations. Research has know found the area of the brain that they think becomes affected when someone is suffering from PTSD but although great strides have been made more research is needed.
There is evidence that for identical twins pairs exposed to combat in Vietnam that both twins could develop PTSD but if non identical twins were exsposed to the same conditions both would not, research is still on going in regards this subject.
There may also be an attitudinal component; for example, a soldier who believes that they will not sustain injuries may be more likely to develop symptoms of PTSD than one who anticipates the possibility, should either be wounded. Likewise, the later incidence of suicide among those injured in home fires above those injured in fires in the workplace suggests this possibility.
Signs to look out for
Avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, such as certain thoughts or feelings, or talking about the event(s);
Avoidance of behaviors, places, or people that might lead to distressing memories;
Inability to recall major parts of the trauma(s), or decreased involvement in significant life activities;
Decreased capacity (down to complete inability) to feel certain feelings;
An expectation that one’s future will be somehow constrained in ways not normal to other people.
Physiological response issues, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or problems with anger, concentration.
I could go on because the list can go on and on. You have to remember we all cope with life in a different manner, not one person copes in the same way and not all will develop these horrendous symptoms. I am one of the lucky ones I have with the help of my family, doctors,
therapy, medication and friends been able to cope with my past. For that I am truly Grateful.
I will leave you with one thought: In the first World War they used to put people like me up against a firing Squad, they said they were cowards. Many good men were treated like this we now know that they were suffering from what was then called shell shocked what we call today PTSD. Have a thought today for all your Veterans.