Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) once called “Shell shock” is experienced by survivors of traumatic events like natural disasters, life threatening accidents, terrorist acts, war/combat, death threats, emotional, physical or sexual violence and serious injury, leading to episodes of intense fear and helplessness.
PTSD can affect the person who experienced the event, witnesses of the event, people responding at the scene e.g. first responders, or family and friends of the survivor.
Other reasons for experiencing PTSD can include:
- Inherited mental health risks.
- Inherited personality/temperament features.
- Substance misuse.
This is done upon presentation of the following symptoms causing significant distress for more than 1 month:
- Reliving/ Intrusion:
Reliving that moment in the form of flashes or dreams.
Avoiding people, places, activities and objects that can trigger relieving that event.
- Increasing rage attacks and reactivity:
Noticeable uncontrollable outbursts of anger and irritability.
- Negative cognitions and alterations in mood
Distorted self beliefs, feeling detached and devoid of happiness or satisfaction
When left unmanaged PTSD can lead to:
- Substance use and abuse
- Memory problems
- Suicidal ideation.
Tips for preventing PTSD:
- Always identify as a survivor, not a victim.
- Seek professional help e.g. therapy.
- Disclose the trauma to a loved one who will listen, and offer support.
- Engage in positive emotion and laughter.
Always think happy thoughts and talk to someone if you notice any of the symptoms.
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