Post-traumatic stress: what is it, symptoms and treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological syndrome in the person who relives a traumatic event in the past, such as a sexual assault, having participated in a war or an assault, for example.
Despite the fact that the fear is a normal reaction of the organism, during and after this type of situation, the upheaval of post-traumatic stress causes an excessive and constant fear when carrying out daily activities, such as going to the supermarket or being alone in home coming televisión, even when there is no apparent danger.
This disorder can lead to problems in the life of those who suffer, such as problems with family, friends, work or school, in addition to a greater possibility of substance abuse, which is why it is important to consult a psychologist in case to experience the symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
Some symptoms that can help to identify if someone is suffering from post-traumatic stress during the following:
- Intense memories that increase heart rate and excessive sweating;
- Having terrifying thoughts or constant nightmares;
- Frequent anxiety;
- Difficulty sleeping;
- Tener outbursts of wrath;
- Avoid going to places that may remind you of the traumatic situation;
- Avoid thinking about what happened during the event.
- To feel less interest in pleasant activities that caused pleasure;
- feel guilty;
- Negative thoughts about yourself.
These symptoms must be present for at least 1 month and not be caused by another possible organic illness, in order to be considered the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Causes of post-traumatic stress
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be present from before the age of 6 years until adulthood, being the main factors for its development:
- Having experienced a traumatic event;
- Repeated exposure to details of the traumatic event (living next to a hospital and seeing the ambulances with her, for example);
- Witnessing a traumatic event that happened to another person (hijacking the assault, for example);
- Knowing about a traumatic event that happened to someone nearby.
This disorder is more frequent in women and when the traumatic event is related to physical injuries, such as blows, burns, sexual violence, for example.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The main factor for the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is the antecedent of a traumatic event that could be in danger of life, which is evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Likewise, the psychiatrist can request other studies to rule out organic diseases such as alcohol and substance abuse or other psychological disorders such as depression or panic disorder, which may have symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment of post-traumatic stress always must be guided and evaluated by a psychologist or a psychiatrist, as it needs to be adapted to each person. In most cases, treatment begins with psychotherapy sessions with cognitive-behavioral, exposure and desensitization techniques, which must start before possible and be cut, around 12 sessions.
The psychiatrist can also recommend the use of medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as sertraline and paroxetine, which can help alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders and panic attacks, in addition to beta-blockers, such as propranolol for relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
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