Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Exhibiting two (2) or more of the following behaviors,

  • Difficulty in remembering important parts of the traumatic event(s), not from alcohol use, drug use, or head injury
  • Ongoing self-defeating talk, negative perceptions about others or the state of the world
  • Obsessive self-blame or blaming others about cause-and-effect of traumatic event(s)
  • Continuous state of fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Noticeably reduced interest or participation in once-loved activities
  • Detaching from others
  • Unable to experience joy or other positive feelings

And exhibiting two (2) or more of the following:

  • Aggressiveness or irritability
  • Self-destructive or risky behavior(s)
  • Overly vigilant or heightened alertness
  • Amplified response to surprises or being startled
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irregular sleep patterns (hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or having restless sleep)

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects people differently. The above symptoms provide a guideline as to how the disorder can present.

How does PTSD start?

There are many root causes for the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. The onset of stress can bring about varying symptoms of anxiety, PTSD is an escalated and ongoing form of anxiety compromising behavioral, mental and physical wellbeing.

Victims of PTSD can attest to experiencing one or more of the following:

  • A traumatic event(s), such as the threat of death, a life-altering injury, or sexual assault
    • Physical
    • Emotional
    • Sexual
  • Witnessing a traumatic event(s) occur in others
  • Learning of a traumatic event that happened to a loved one, violent or accidental, such as death or the threat of death, life-altering injury, or sexual assault
  • Coming in to contact with an actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation in others, either by accident or through work (i.e. first responders, military). This can also include the repeated mention of details or accounting of the traumatic event(s).

Some people with PTSD develop the condition within one month after the traumatic episode occurred. Others, who experienced some sort of trauma decades earlier or instances of ongoing traumatic events, may suppress the signs and then exhibit the sensations of post-traumatic stress disorder years later.

One or more the following characterizes the onset of PTSD:

  • The body negatively reacts to reminders of the traumatic event(s)
  • Recurring dreams where the trauma is replayed or the feelings about the trauma
  • Flashbacks occur about the traumatic event
  • Episodes of dissociative behavior occur through detachment, distorted perception of people and events, memory loss
  • Lack of emotional coping mechanisms
  • Irrational, animated outbursts or reactions to situations and conversations that exceed what would be considered normal, especially when exposed to psychological triggers of the trauma(s)
  • Replaying the traumatic event(s), passively or actively

Why do people get PTSD?

Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But why, then, will some and not others? Every person, even young people, will build a personal life history based on experiences. Through these experiences, genetics, and neurobiology, we gain the presence of risk and resilience factors which increase or decrease our ability to handle stressful encounters. These factors contribute to why many first responders, for example, will face traumatic events but not all will develop PTSD.

How is PTSD treated?

We recommend getting a mental health assessment from a psychiatrist or medical doctor. Medication may be needed to help mitigate symptoms of the condition. Through ongoing psychotherapy, medication monitoring, and holistic practices such as meditation, exercise and healthy diet, PTSD can be effectively managed. Through the use of healthy coping skills and ongoing therapy such as Eye Movement Desensitization Response (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), patients with PTSD can live a productive life.

Contact Fifth Avenue Psychiatry

Office address:
3 East 85th Street
New York NY 10028
T. 212-734-0506

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