Risk Factors and treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
People who live through a traumatic event sometimes suffer its effects long after the danger has passed. Several factors play a role in developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, so there is no way to know who will or won’t experience it. The good news is treatment is available, and early treatment may help reduce long-term symptoms.
Several factors play a role in developing PTSD, such as individual personality, the severity of the event, proximity to the event, the people involved in the event, duration of the trauma, and the amount of support the person receives afterward. You may be at higher risk if you:
Just as individual reactions to trauma vary, PTSD symptoms also differ from person to person. Symptoms may appear immediately after a traumatic event or they may appear weeks, months or even years later. Although the symptoms of a “typical” stress reaction can resemble those of PTSD, true PTSD symptoms continue for a prolonged period and often interfere with a person’s daily routines and commitments. While only a trained medical professional can diagnose PTSD, possible signs of the disorder include:
Reexperiencing trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder frequently includes flashbacks or moments in which the person relives the initial traumatic event or reexperiences the intense feelings of fear that surrounded it.
Avoidance/numbness. As a result of flashbacks or other negative feelings, people suffering from PTSD may avoid conversations or situations that remind them of the frightening event they survived.
Hyperarousal. Feeling constantly on edge, feeling irritable and having difficulty sleeping or concentrating are all possible signs of PTSD.
Understanding the treatment options