PTSD, also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a widespread psychiatric disorder that usually affects people who experienced or witnessed an event that caused damage to their mental psyche. Though the term itself is fairly recent, PTSD has existed for quite some time. It used to be known by the phrase, shell shock during the World War 1 era and combat fatigue during World War 2. But it is not limited to war veterans; PTSD can be the result of any form of trauma such as sexual assault, a serious accident, a natural disaster, death of a loved one, etc.
PTSD is quite a serious disorder. People with PTSD do not just have deep and disturbing bouts of obsessive thinking about their previous experiences; they can also have flashbacks that force them to relive their traumatic experiences. This is why people with PTSD often avoid situations that can remind them of their previous traumas or trigger negative emotions in them that might lead to a flashback. Also, people who are extremely sensitive to their emotions can have PTSD even if they themselves have not experienced the event themselves and have only witnessed a close friend or family member witnessing it.
Signs and symptoms of PTSD:
As there is no external evidence of PTSD, it is difficult to diagnose. People have to make sure to notice all the large and small behaviors exhibited by the person to understand they might have a psychological problem. PTSD symptoms can be divided into four broad categories:
- Intrusive memories
- Adverse changes in thinking and mood
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
Though we can provide you with a general outline for these symptoms, they generally differ from person to person.
Intrusive memories are recurrent and unwanted memories of the traumatic incident that may be forcing the person to have a flashback, i.e. relive the incident all over again. It is very common for these traumatic memories to percolate into the patient’s dreams and for them to have extreme emotional distress whenever they think about the event.
Symptoms of avoidance in a person with PTSD include avoiding the place or activity or people that reminds them of the event. Some people even avoid talking about the event to an extreme level, so much so that they stop talking to anyone and retreat in their own shells. One classic sign of this is that they start wearing oversized clothes such as jackets or hoodies that hide them from the world.
People with post traumatic stress disorder often have negative thoughts about themselves and the world and hopelessness about themselves and their situation. They tend to push people away and have trouble maintaining relationships. While some people lash out at the world, others tend to retreat into themselves.
PTSD also changes people’s physical and emotional reactions to everyday situations. They start getting frightened, anxious, nervous easily, and they are always on guard, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Some people who have survivor’s guilt may even feel ashamed and start exhibiting self-destructive behavior.
It can be very frustrating when you wish to help someone with a psychological problem, but you can’t. For physical injuries, you can provide medicine, but there is no specific cure for psychological disorders. All you can do to help them is be there for them and try to convince them to visit a professional if you think that they need it. If your child is exhibiting signs of PTSD, then here are some tips that you can follow to help them:
- Take them to a child psychologist. Children have a very fragile mental psyche, which can be further battered due to PTSD. So you need to select a child psychologist after careful consideration. He/she should be an expert in your child’s specific disorder and have adequate experience with previous patients.
- Trauma-based- cognitive behavioral therapy (TB-CBT) has proven to be a very effective tool for the treatment of kids with PTSD. The therapy uses a mix of talking and learning activities for the treatment, under the guidance of a mental therapist. For younger kids, this includes talk, play, drawing, and interactive thinking. It includes CPT (cognitive processing therapy) activities for teenagers to help with their thoughts and feelings of trauma and PE (prolonged exposure) to help teens manage their anxiety.
For the treatment of PTSD, it is very important to identify your triggers. Sometimes even a specific sound or action can remind the person of a traumatic experience. This is why it is necessary to learn what might elicit a trauma in the person’s mind. Don’t be too hard on yourself; healing is a journey, and it takes time. If you feel that your child needs treatment to heal from a traumatic event in their life, then Hopecare India is there for you. Some health tips from the best therapists in Delhi are:
- Ensure that your child is feeling safe and cared for. Give them extra attention and comfort till they start feeling comfortable again.
- Teach breathing exercises to your children, as they relieve anxiousness and help your child refocus on the present instead of the past.
- Help them try out new hobbies and find out more things that they enjoy. These hobbies can be anything from cooking to music, art, etc.
If you ever feel that you are being overwhelmed in life, then Hopecare India is here for you.
Hope Care established under the guidance of Dr. Deepak Raheja, President at Delhi Psychiatric Society is a psychiatric center of excellence that endeavors to restore hope and well-being to individuals and families afflicted by mental ill-health through comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation services. Hopecare seeks to set benchmarks in innovative programs in treatment, care, and education.