People who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist act, war/combat, rape, threatened with death, sexual assault, or serious injury may develop a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Symptoms of PTSD include intrusive thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams as well as flashbacks of the traumatic event. Individuals attempt to control this issue by avoiding reminders of the traumatic event which may further include avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that may trigger distressing memories. Alterations in cognition and mood, alterations in arousal and reactivity such as being irritable and having angry outbursts, behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way, being overly watchful of one’s surroundings in a suspecting way, being easily startled or having problems concentrating or sleeping.
PTSD is possibly triggered by a complex combination of causes, as is the case with most mental health issues. Firstly, stressful events in your life, including the amount and degree of trauma you’ve experienced. Secondly, mental health threats passed down through the generations, such as a family history of anxiety and depression. Thirdly, temperament, which is a term used to describe the inherited characteristics of personality. And lastly, the way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress.
Talk therapies teach people helpful ways to react to the frightening events that trigger their PTSD symptoms. Therapists help clients to appropriately understand their trauma and how it affects other individuals, they also teach calming and anger management strategies, offer advice on how to change your sleeping, dining, and exercising habits as well as assisting people in identifying and dealing with their feelings of remorse, shame, and other emotions related to the incident. Therapists consider changing people’s reactions to their PTSD symptoms to be a priority. Behaviour therapy, for example, can assist people in confronting traumatic memories and thus help confront the emotions pertaining to those memories.