28.2% of the population suffered from PTSD during the lockdown in India. * (Based on a survey of 234 respondents in 2020)
PTSD refers to a mental condition that gets triggered due to any terrifying event. It could either be because of experiencing it or even by only witnessing it. The symptoms of PTSD may vary from nightmares to flashbacks and many more.
If you are feeling stressed or have been exposed to any traumatic event, read further to know more about the condition.
What does PTSD stand for?
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. People suffering from PTSD will suffer from problems in eating, sleeping and concentration. Many people go through various traumatic events throughout their life. These events can trigger different reactions in life which may make it difficult to cope up with. If the symptoms get worse, they will start interfering with your daily schedules. It is crucial to know proper PTSD symptoms to prevent them from functioning better.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that can occur after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It's important to understand the signs and symptoms of PTSD to treat it.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, there is a possibility you have PTSD:
or avoidance of reminders of the event.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for PTSD, it's important to seek help from a professional. Remember, everyone experiences trauma differently. Not all people with PTSD will display the same symptoms.
The symptoms of PTSD will start showing up after one month of traumatic events. Yet, in some cases, the symptoms will not appear for a year or so. The signs will harm your social and work situation. It will also interfere with your ability to do even basic tasks everyday.
Some of the other common symptoms of PTSD include:
Upsetting dreams about traumatic events
Extreme emotional distress
Being in denial of a particular thought
Having negative feelings such as hopelessness about the future
Constant changes in mood
In a broader sense, there are two categories of symptoms:
Trigger & trauma-based
Avoidance symptoms are common in people with PTSD. People may often avoid areas or people that remind them of the traumatic event. These symptoms can include difficulty in sleeping, concentrating, or eating. Coping with everyday life challenges can be a possibility too. You may constantly battle with yourself to avoid those memories, thoughts, feelings, or places.
Triggered by trauma symptoms
PTSD is a mental health disorder that can be caused by exposure to traumatic events. Symptoms of this condition include increased arousal and reactivity. You may get startled easily, and have outbursts that can sometimes be self-destructive too. You may also be over-suspecting people and surroundings.
70 % of adults have experienced a traumatic event at least once. *
Is PTSD the same as trauma?
PTSD refers to a mental health condition which essentially gets triggered by trauma but it isn’t the only reason. The trauma may be event or time-based. Trauma alone may be insufficient to trigger PTSD symptoms but it will be hard to diagnose in its absence.
Some traumatic experiences which trigger PTSD can be:
Sexual abuse (childhood abuse, rape)
Physical assault (combat, abuse, fight, threatened by a weapon, torture, mugging, kidnapping)
A natural disaster (fire, flood)
A life-threatening event (accident, plane crash)
Other possible causes behind PTSD other than trauma can be:
Inherited mental health history of depression and anxiety.
Inherent temperament and personality.
How your body responds to stress and stressful experiences.
PTSD treatment in India
While there is currently no cure for PTSD, treatment over time can help manage symptoms and lead to a better life. If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD, please encourage them to consult therapists. There are many therapy options available while some medications can also be helpful.
Two trusted approaches to PTSD are:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a trusted treatment for PTSD. It helps people learn how to manage their flashbacks and other symptoms. CBT involves working on challenging negative thoughts and behaviors. These often lead to flashbacks happening involuntarily.
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it is best to look for professional help. There is no cure for PTSD but treatment helps significantly improve your quality of life. Antidepressants are mostly chosen as medications to treat it.
Complications and Prevention
People often develop fear, guilt, anger, or depression as common reactions to trauma. If untreated or unacknowledged by people around, this can lead to multiple risks like:
Dependence of substance abuse
Depression and anxiety
Kindly ensure that patients opt for healthy coping methods. The support of friends and family with a sensitive approach helps. Encouraging them to try therapy (only by professional experts) can help you treat and prevent any future complications.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health disorder. It can develop after exposure to a traumatic event or inherent reasons. Its symptoms can vary from person to person. Some general ones include flashbacks, avoidance of traumatic memories, negative thoughts and feelings, and increased arousal. Treatment for PTSD typically involves psychotherapy, medication, and self-care.
If you feel that you're dealing with PTSD, we hope this blog has helped you get a basic idea about PTSD. If you or someone you know is dealing with it, please encourage them to ask for help.
The Author :
Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.