Symptoms Of PTSD: All Things You Need To Know

Symptoms Of PTSD

In this article, we will discuss diagnosis and symptoms of PTSD.

Introduction

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves a series of symptoms that occur and continue after a person has survived a severely stressful or morbid incident that had a deep psychological impact – or in some cases has been observant to them. The inability to rebound from an incident characterizes this condition. Since trauma keeps us on high alert it may lead to changes in neurochemistry.

In certain cases, traumatic experiences become difficult to handle as anxiety grows, all of which lead the person to re-experience the trauma-related emotions as if they arise in the present. The problem can persist for months or years, with prompts that can bring back painful experiences followed by extreme physiological and emotional reactions. 

The experiences may include sexual abuse, prolonged emotional abuse, being in a war, or watching someone close die.

Treatment options may include various forms of psychotherapy, as well as tranquilizing drugs.

Diagnosis

To evaluate PTSD, the screening instrument (mostly in the form of a questionnaire) designed by researchers, first assesses the history of a patient. A trauma could be identified with the following question that asks: Have you ever experienced an exceedingly terrifying, painful, or horrific episode such as being the target of a violent incident, having been critically wounded in an accident, having been sexually abused, witnessing someone seriously hurt or killed or have been the target of a natural disaster?

The device then measures five clusters of symptoms that are enumerated and elaborated below.

Symptoms Of PTSD

Re-experiencing:

Whether the patient relives an encounter by repeated hallucinations, fears, or flashbacks in dreams, or while being awake, it’s considered a mild symptom (based on the frequency) of PTSD. One usually has repeated distressing dreams that relate the substance or result of the dream to the circumstances.

Any hallucinations or other dissociative responses in which the person thinks or behaves as if the painful experiences are currently occurring often serve a sustained psychological discomfort upon exposure to internal or external signals. These signals can symbolize or imitate a component of the traumatic events and can result in physiological responses to traumatic events’ reminders.

One can have episodes of the same situation with different coloring every time. As it is neither new nor old, these appearances sabotage the quality of life and forces one to retreat back into their shells.

Withdrawal/Loss of motivation:

They appear to be less involved in important things after the trauma, not “into it,” or unable to feel or express emotions. The will to live can also be missing in a visibly large section that heightens the suicidal tendencies of the patient. In this extremely symptomatic category of people, the higher prevalence of illness, comorbidity, and suicidal ideation associated with larger levels of PTSD symptoms were both statistically and clinically important. 

Anxiety:

PTSD patients can have difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or a short temper that cannot be controlled at will. They are generally restless for most of the day and appear to be indecisive. 

An anxious person might experience a lot of sweating that can be very uncomfortable. They are in many cases accompanied by tremors of limbs if the anxiety leads back to an unforgettable memory.

Social interaction can become cumbersome for people with anxiety, where they tend to think every word over a thousand times, before actually uttering it. This constant judgemental assessment of oneself pushes some people into denial and others into doubt.

Avoidance:

They have trouble sleeping, little focus, or a low body temperature that can mean underlying bodily dysfunctions, accredited to the chemical changes in the brain suffered in PTSD patients. They also avoid certain activities, spaces, and thoughts that trace back to the trauma. 

Any reluctance to treatment and nurturing the convinced idea that his or her life is ruined and cannot go back to normal also indicates the tendency to refrain from things – a common occurrence among PTSD patients. The lack of interest in physical problems such as a pounding heart is very scary as it leads to many serious issues, as cardiovascular disarray in this instance.

Hyperarousal:

Increased arousals such as difficulties in sleeping and focusing, feeling agitated, becoming quickly annoyed, frustrated, and having a power complex, can be noticeable. Many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of a traumatic incident tend to do with the hyperarousal of the brain and body.

Since the brain interprets a stressful experience as a potential threat, involuntary responses to the battle become active – and even repeated after the incident’s re-experiencing. These symptoms of hyperarousal may lead to an unpleasant and traumatic situation for the patient, in tandem with general hypervigilance that too often follows PTSD symptoms. 

Insomnia is one symptom of hyperarousal-associated PTSD. Most patients of PTSD have considerable trouble getting sleep and spending the entire night in a deep sleep. Few people with PTSD problems often sleep with the lights on because of recurring anxiety, finding it impossible to get a restful, REM-level of sleep.

Medications

The chemicals in the brain can influence the way people feel when someone suffers a traumatic accident. For example, when a person is suffering from depression with or without PTSD, he or she might not have decreased levels of happy neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine. 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) tend to improve a person’s brain serotonin amount. This form of antidepressant is widely used in PTSD treatment and may make a person feel less anxious and sad. Some popular SSRIs are- Celexa (citalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline).

Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy may help a person deal with their emotions whether a person is having remorse or rage. Other interventions, such as dialectical behavioral therapy, may help patients deal with stimuli and overcome panic attacks faster, interact more with the stress, and discover new ways to handle hallucinations or painful physical experiences.

They may be blaming themselves for circumstances they couldn’t have modified when a person suffers trauma in their lives. Many people blame the things they could not really influence. These feelings can cause tremendous anxiety and are not inherently embedded in reality, but remain deeply ingrained in cycles of thinking and beliefs. Prolonged exposures, stress inoculation, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are various therapy options one can discuss with their doctors to decide what suits them best.

Conclusion

Before working on PTSD causes, remember the need to extend studies beyond the limits of maximum syndromic parameters of PTSD. The data may generally correlate more with a dimensional definition of posttraumatic symptoms. This topic may be discussed in prospective epidemiological research by performing a thorough evaluation of adverse experiences and signs of PTSD independent of the diagnosis classification.