Dr. Mona discusses PTSD including what it is, who is at risk, its symptoms, treatment options, and preventative measures one can take to try to avoid it.
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Question: What is PTSD? Mona Khanna: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or deal. Usually one feels greatly threatened physically or has observed great harm and had no control over the situation, traumatic events that may trigger PTSD includes personal assaults, disasters, accident or military combat. Who is at risk for PTSD? Mona Khanna: You are at risk for developing PTSD based on the intensity and the length of the trauma. If someone was hurt, if you were close to the event how strong your reaction was and how much support you received after the event was over. What are the symptoms of PTSD? Mona Khanna: There are three main categories into which PTSD symptoms fall, people can relive the event, they can become numb, or they can exhibit hyperarousal. Reliving the event may be expressed with persistent freighting thoughts and memories of the ordeal. Numbness is exhibited as detachments from other especially with family or close friends. Hyperarousal is constant jitteriness or always alert and I will look out for danger. Science of this are sudden anger or irritability difficulty in sleeping and trouble concentrating, other problems can include substance abuse feelings of hopelessness, shame or despair. You might have difficulty keeping the job, you might have marital discord domestic violence even physical symptoms such as headaches and gastrointestinal upset. PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not happen until many years later, they may also come and go over many years if the symptoms last longer than four weeks cause greatest stress or interfere with work or home life. PTSD is a unlikely diagnosis. Bad memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time, the same fear and horror, night mares, flash backs some times there is a trigger a sound or a sight that causes reliving of the event. What is the treatment? Mona Khanna: Treatment is most effective when started early, Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective type of counseling it involves careful and gradually exposing thoughts, feelings situations of the trauma and replacing them with the more balanced picture. Eye movement desensitization and re processing incorporate some of the elements of cognitive behavioral therapy but with eye movements or other forms of rhythmic left, right stimulation such as hand taps or sounds. Stimulation works by unfreezing the brains information processing system, which is interrupted in times of extreme stress leaving only frozen emotional fragments which retain their original intensity. Once these fragments of the trauma or unfrozen they can be integrated to cohesive memory and processed. Family therapy can help loved ones communicate better and work through relationship problems, medications especially the drug known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI which is also used for depression is effective for PTSD. What is the longterm prognosis? Mona Khanna: Many people who develop PTSD get better at some time and treatment can help develop coping skills. Symptoms don't have to interfere with everyday activities work or relationships but about one out of three people with PTSD might continue to have symptoms. How do you prevent PTSD? Mona Khanna: After a terrifying event feelings of fear, confusion or anger might be a sign of PTSD many people who go through dramatic events hip some symptoms at the beginning eye only some of them will develop with PTSD, it isn't clear why some do develop it and others don't. But it's always to good idea to talk about these events after they are, military has counseling programs called critical incident thirsty breathings to help prevent long term psychological effects.