What is PTSD ?

Nehl Noman 01:02 PM, 24 Dec, 2022
What is PTSD ?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been previously referred to as "shell shock" and "combat fatigue" in contexts of war. It is a psychiatric and behavioral condition that occurs in response to a traumatic experience. Numerous people from all age groups suffer from this condition and its symptoms, as well as their severity, vary from person to person. It is estimated to affect 1 in every 3 people who experience a traumatic event.


Once a diagnosis of PTSD is made, you may be told that it is mild, moderate, or severe. This is based on the impact of the symptoms on your body and life.

It may also be classified as:

●      Delayed onset PTSD in which symptoms appear 6 months after experiencing trauma

●      Complex PTSD which is related to trauma at an early age or for a prolonged period

●      Birth Trauma which occurs after a traumatic childbirth experience.


●      Stressful experiences

●      Serious road accidents

●      Violent personal assaults like sexual assault and mugging

●      Serious health issue

●      Traumatic childbirth experiences

●      Inherited mental health risks and personality traits

●      Abnormal regulation of hormones and chemicals in the body by the brain

Risk Factors

●      Experiencing very dangerous events and traumatic incidents for a long period

●      Getting hurt or witnessing somebody else get hurt

●      Childhood trauma

●      Feeling intense fear, horror, or helplessness

●      Little or no social support after the trauma

●      History of mental illness or substance abuse

●      Certain careers choices with increased exposure to trauma like being in the military or first responders

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms usually appear within 3 months of a traumatic experience. However, they may even show up years later. They last for at least a month and interfere with work or relationships. These may include:

●      Disturbing flashbacks

●      Trouble sleeping

●      Trouble concentrating

●      Feeling emotionally numb

●      Outbursts of anger

●      Overwhelming guilt

●      Losing interest in previously enjoyable activities

●      Avoiding talking about, and things that remind you of, the traumatic incident

●      Being easily startled or frightened

●      Feeling tense

●      Problems experiencing happy emotions

●      Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast


●      Depression

●      Anxiety

●      Drug or alcohol abuse

●      Eating disorders

●      Suicidal thoughts and/or actions


Usually, after a traumatic incident, people experience some symptoms of PTSD, such as feeling numb or being unable to sleep, but they are for a limited period like a few weeks. This is referred to as an "acute stress reaction." When the symptoms last longer than one month, you might be given a diagnosis of PTSD after a complete medical history and physical examination by a professional.


●      Medications

Physicians may prescribe antidepressants to treat PTSD and for dealing with its associated symptoms. These may include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and atypical antipsychotics. Some blood pressure medications may be used for specific symptoms like nightmares and traumatic memories.

●      Psychotherapy

This is aimed at helping a person cope and manage their symptoms. These may include cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, psychodynamic therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and eye desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Nehl Noman

The author is contributing writer at Medical News Pakistan and can be reached at



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