TELECOUNSELING FOR NEW JERSEY
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which there was serious physical harm or threat. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Examples of things that can bring on PTSD include sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster.
Symptoms of PTSD most often begin within 3 months of the event. In some cases, however, they don’t begin until years later. The severity and duration of the illness can vary. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have it much longer.
Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into four main categories, including:
- Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
- Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind them of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
- Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being "jumpy" or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Negative cognitions and mood: This refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event.
The goal of PTSD treatment is to reduce the emotional and physical symptoms, to improve daily functioning, and to help the person better manage with the event that triggered the disorder.