How is PTSD Caused and What is It?
Many people have heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but might not know how serious it can actually be. Learn more about PTSD causes and how to manage and recover from the symptoms.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in the armed forces and return back to your home after fighting overseas in a war? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often follows many men and women home from battle but what are some PTSD causes? What is it that sets off the high levels of anxiety in many of these individuals once they come home?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that develops after experiencing a distressing, frightening, or stressful event. Unlike many other disorders, it is not one that you are born with; it only comes as a result of exposure to a traumatic experience.
What are some of the things that cause PTSD? How does it develop? Does the disorder last forever or can it be cured? What are some of the ways to handle living with post traumatic stress disorder?
Continue reading to learn more about PTSD causes and how to manage or eliminate the symptoms that accompany it.
Diving Deeper Into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Experiencing fear as a result of a stressful event is a common response. Fear is a learned response, a helpful mechanism that helps you avoid situations that are potentially dangerous or harmful to you. You might fear heights as a result of a long fall as a child or the ocean if you found yourself pulled into a rip current and felt like you couldn’t escape.
When exposed to a distressing or dangerous situation, your body experiences something you’ve very likely heard of already: “fight or flight response.” This sudden surge of adrenaline through your system gives you the ability to handle situations you might not be able to in everyday conditions.
Living with some fear is normal and healthy. Your fight or flight response helps you manage situations to keep yourself safe. But once the event passes and some time has elapsed, these responses lessen.
However, some people experience or live through certain atrocities and their fight or flight response, or extreme fear, do not decrease. These individuals feel on edge nearly all of the time, whether or not they are in danger. This can often impact their ability to function normally. Those who do not lose their sense of fight or flight after a traumatic event are usually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What types of events cause this extreme sense of fight or flight mode at all times? There are many different experiences that people go through to develop PTSD. There is not a one-size-fits-all cause of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some are able to handle more stress than others before reaching the “breaking point.”
Some events of PTSD causes include:
- Exposure to war, either as a soldier or a civilian
- Car accidents
- Sexual assault or prolonged sexual abuse
- Violent personal attacks, such as robbery or mugging
- Severe neglect, especially during developmental childhood years
- Witnessing a violent attack or murder
- Being kidnapped or held hostage
- Natural disasters like severe earthquakes, floods, or fire
- Sudden death of a loved one, such as a family member or close friend
Not everyone who goes through one of the above experiences develops PTSD. At the same time, developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not make you “weak” or unable to handle stress. PTSD causes are extreme events that affect everyone who goes through them in some way or another.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Having some leftover nerves or fear after a stressful or dangerous event is normal. When these symptoms last longer and start to carry into your everyday life, though, PTSD might be present. In order to receive a PTSD diagnosis, you must experience all of the following symptoms for at least one month:
- At least one experience of “re-living” the traumatic event
- A minimum of one symptom of avoidance (to minimize the chances of the event happening again)
- At least two symptoms of arousal or reactivity (where the fight or flight response is triggered and activated)
- A minimum of two symptoms of impacted cognition and mood
If you already have depression or anxiety, you have higher chances of developing symptoms of PTSD. Depression and anxiety make life difficult to manage to begin with. After going through a scary or dangerous experience, those symptoms are often magnified. Many times the event magnifies these existing symptoms. These extreme symptoms often manifest into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Can PTSD Be Cured?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not have to last forever; there are a number of treatments for PTSD causes and symptoms. Therapy with an emphasis or focus on recovery from trauma is often the most effective course of treatment. Some of the types of trauma therapy used to help people struggling with PTSD are:
- Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Prolonged Exposure
- Narrative Exposure Therapy
Medication can also be a helpful addition to therapy. Antidepressants are often used to keep symptoms at a manageable level while working with a therapist. They encourage a more positive outlook as well as increased activity levels to keep the individual going during treatment.
Are you looking for help with the causes of PTSD and learning how to manage your symptoms? Treatment centers like Hawaii Island Recovery can provide the assistance you are looking for. Living with PTSD can be a struggle; it might often seem like you’ll never be able to leave the house feeling safe again.
You don’t have to live alone with your symptoms, though. Our center staffs numerous accredited therapists and nurses who are equipped to help you handle your PTSD.
Call our admissions office today at 877-721-3556 to learn more about the options available to you!
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