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What is PTSD?

PTSD is a psychiatric disease that can affect persons who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or major injury, or who have gone through or faced a traumatic event like natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist attacks, war/combat, or rape.

PTSD has been referred to by a variety of titles in the past, including “shell shock” during World War I and “battle exhaustion” following World War II, but it is not limited to combat veterans. PTSD can affect everyone, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects about 3.5 percent of adults in the United States each year, and one in every 11 people will be diagnosed with it at some point in their lives. PTSD affects twice as many women as it does males. Three ethnic groups are disproportionately afflicted and have greater rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites: U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians.

People who suffer from PTSD have vivid, unsettling thoughts and sensations about the traumatic incident that remain long after it has occurred. They may have flashbacks or dreams about the event, and they may experience sadness, fear, or rage, as well as a sense of separation from others. Persons who have PTSD may avoid circumstances or people who remind them of the traumatic experience, and they may have strong unpleasant reactions to seemingly innocuous things like a loud noise or an unintentional touch.

What are the signs of PTSD?

PTSD is difficult to detect, especially when it occurs in your own head. PTSD is not the same as despair or fury, despite the similarities in appearance and symptoms. And it can have an impact on everything from your sleeping habits to your personal and professional connections.

Nightmares or flashbacks may occur, as well as avoidance of circumstances that trigger the trauma, increased responsiveness to stimuli, anxiety, and depression. 

PTSD does not always manifest itself in the form of nightmares or flashbacks. It may appear that the mood shift is unrelated to the traumatic incident. You’ll recognize it by its pessimism. You might feel gloomy, numb, or self-conscious about yourself or others. Suicide thoughts might come and go. Deep sentiments of shame and guilt are also frequent. You can lose interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Your desire to keep in touch with close friends and relatives may be waning. 

Whether you’re aware of it or not, memories of the terrible experience can resurface. You may have nightmares about them at night or flashbacks throughout the day. That is, you relive the incident as if it were the first time. Both emotions can make you feel worried, fearful, guilty, or suspicious.

How is PTSD treated?

Psychological therapies and drugs are the most common treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although traumatic occurrences can be difficult to accept, facing your thoughts and obtaining expert support are frequently the only ways to properly heal PTSD.

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