Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) What is PTSD? PTSD is a trauma for which one has lived through. The first reaction after the trauma is usually a sigh of relief. What follows within minutes, days and weeks can be devastating to the victim. Most people associate PTSD with battle-scarred soldiersand military combat is the most common cause in menbut any overwhelming life experience can trigger PTSD, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncontrollable. Slide 2 Avoidance of reminders of the trauma is inherent in PTSD Post traumatic stress disorder, or (PTSD) can occur after someone goes through, sees, or learns about a traumatic event like: Combat exposure Terrorist attack Sexual/physical assault Serious accident Natural disaster Slide 3 Many People have had a trauma. About 60% of men and 50% of women experience at least one traumatic event. Of those who do, about 8% of men and 20% of women will develop PTSD. For some events, like combat and sexual assault, more people develop PTSD. How Common Is PTSD? Note: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is marked by emotional, biological and Psychological disorder. Slide 4 Signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again) Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things) Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating) Slide 5 Continued: Signs and symptoms of (PTSD) Feelings of Hopelessness Helplessness Irritability Sudden Anger Isolation Anxiety Lack of Feelings Poor Concentration Stress Poor Judgment Mistrust Slide 6 Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Anger and irritability Guilt, shame, or self-blame Substance abuse Feelings of mistrust and betrayal Depression Suicidal thoughts and feelings Feeling alienated and alone Physical aches and pains Slide 7 Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) causes and risk factors Many risk factors revolve around the nature of the traumatic event itself. Traumatic events are more likely to cause PTSD when they involve a severe threat to your life or personal safety: The more extreme and prolonged the threat, the greater the risk of developing PTSD in response. Intentional, human- inflicted harmsuch as rape, assault, and torturealso tends to be more traumatic than acts of God or more impersonal accidents and disasters. The extent to which the traumatic event was unexpected, uncontrollable, and inescapable also plays a role. Slide 8 Helping a loved one with PTSD Be patient and understanding. Getting better takes time, even when a person is committed to treatment for PTSD. Be patient with the pace of recovery and offer a sympathetic ear. A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. Try to anticipate and prepare for PTSD triggers. Common triggers include anniversary dates; people or places associated with the trauma; and certain sights, sounds, or smells. If you are aware of what triggers may cause an upsetting reaction, youll be in a better position to offer your support and help your loved one calm down. Slide 9 Dont take the symptoms of PTSD personally. Common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include emotional numbness, anger, and withdrawal. If your loved one seems distant, irritable, or closed off, remember that this may not have anything to do with you or your relationship. Dont pressure your loved one into talking. It is very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Never try to force your loved one to open up. Let the person know, however, that youre there when and if he or she wants to talk. Continued: Helping a loved one with PTSD Slide 10 What Are Some Common Stress Reactions after a Trauma? It is normal to have stress reactions after a traumatic event. Fear or anxiety - In moments of danger, our bodies prepare to fight our enemy, flee the situation, or freeze in the hope that the danger will move past us. Sadness or depression - Sadness after a trauma may come from a sense of loss---of a loved one, of trust in the world, faith, or a previous way of life. Behavior changes - You may act in unhealthy ways. You may: drink, use drugs, or smoke too much, drive aggressively, neglect your health, avoid certain people or situations. Slide 11 What types of therapy are used to treat PTSD? Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is just one method of many available: CBT helps you understand your thought processes and how to change your feelings and reactions to your symptoms. CBT is also used to: manage anger; prepare for stress reactions; handle symptoms of future trauma; learn skills for coping with anxiety; deal with urges to use alcohol or drugs when you experience symptoms of trauma; and relearn social skills. Slide 12 Finding help If you feel that you or a close relative are affected by PTSD and would like help more information, you can speak to your GP or contact any of the following organisations: USA Veterans: Local VA Medical Center NHS Direct (England and Wales) 0845 4647 (www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk)www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk NHS 24 (Scotland) 08454 242424 (www.nhs24.com)www.nhs24.com The Samaritans 08457 909090 (www.samaritans.co.uk)www.samaritans.co.uk Priory 0845 2 774 679 (www.priorygroup.com)www.priorygroup.com Slide 13 Conclusion Because PTSD is so common among military veterans, many under estimate the lasting effects of this disorder and do not seek the help that they need. Future studies need to address how many veterans do not receive treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, why these veterans decline treatment, and how the true severity of this disorder can be made more publicly known.