What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder has been around for a long time. In fact, it was first recorded as Da Costa's syndrome during the American Civil War. Usually associated with military service, PTSD is also called "shell shock" and "battle fatigue." But it doesn't only affect war veterans - it can also affect civilian men, women, and children who have experienced particularly traumatic events.
PTSD occurs after a distressing event, like war, terrorism, torture, natural disasters, accidents, chidhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, or rape. Usually the disorder begins within three months of this experience, although the disorder can take years to appear in some cases. Common ...view middle of the document...
It is important not to hide your symptoms or deny them in any way, as this can interfere with diagnosis. There are three categories of symptoms associated with the disorder: intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms.
Intrusion: Intrusion symptoms arrive suddenly and occur when memories of the past event invade your current life. The most common intrusion symptom is the flashback. Flashbacks are vivid memories that can be triggered by sights, smells, or sounds, and cause you to relive the traumatic experience over and over again. These flashbacks can seem very real and are often detailed and filled with emotion. Another intrusion symptom is the nightmare, which can occur unexpectedly, causing extreme anxiety and fear.
Avoidance: Avoidance symptoms describe a sufferer's unconscious attempts to prevent remembering anything to do with the traumatic event. These signs of post-traumatic stress disorder often interfere with family relationships, marriages, and careers. You may avoid being with family and friends in order to hide your illness. You may experience an overall feeling of numbness. You may alternate between feelings of intense emotion and simply no emotion at all. Consciously and unconsciously you will avoid reminders of the traumatic events in order to escape flashbacks. Depression is often an avoidance symptom.
Hyperarousal: Hyperarousal symptoms are the result of stimulated nerves and hormones. You may experience severe insomnia, trouble remembering the entire traumatic event, and difficulty concentrating. You may experience irritability or explosions of emotion for no apparent reason and more frequent startling responses.
Physical symptoms are often part of...