Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Symptoms and Causes …

Today I want to talk to you about a topic that, although it may not seem so, is quite common. It is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD.

To do so, we are going to divide this blog post into different sections:

  • Definition
  • Symptoms
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliographic references

Let’s start!

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Definition

PTSD is a disorder that can occur after a trauma has occurred. That is to say, a person who has experienced a traumatic situation can develop this disorder. For example, Marco was involved in a traffic accident in which his physical integrity was at risk, and since then he frequently re-experiences the accident in the form of memories, images, etc.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

The DSM-5 (Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association in its fifth version) states that trauma is when a person is exposed to death, has had a serious injury or has suffered a threat in any of the following ways:

  • Experiencing a traumatic event firsthand.
  • Having witnessed something traumatic happen to someone else
  • Knowing that a traumatic event has happened to someone close to you.

Symptoms according to the DSM-5 would be:

  • Memories that are unpleasant, involuntary, frequent, and intrusive.
  • Dreams that are related to trauma
  • Reactions in which the person thinks he/she is reliving the trauma
  • Psychological discomfort when the person has to expose him/herself to situations that are related to the trauma
  • Physiological reactions when the person has to expose him/herself to situations that are related to the trauma
  • Avoidance or effort to avoid memories, feelings, thoughts about the trauma
  • Avoiding or going out of one’s way to avoid things that arouse memories, thoughts or feelings related to the trauma
  • Not being able to remember important things related to the trauma
  • Negative self-beliefs
  • Distorted perception of the cause or consequences of the trauma
  • Negative emotional state
  • Decreased interest or decreased participation in activities
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Inability to experience positive things
  • Irritable behavior
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated responses
  • Problems concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
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Prevalence

(APA, 2013) states that the projected lifetime risk for PTSD in the United States at the age of 75 years is 8.7%. However, it also mentions that in studies conducted in Europe or Latin America, this prevalence is between 0.5 and 1%.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment

Before starting, it would be important to emphasize that, as mentioned by Bados (2005), the most commonly used treatments for PTSD are the following: exposure to feared internal and external stimuli, stress inoculation, cognitive restructuring, and desensitization and reprocessing by means of eye movements.

Regarding the most effective treatments for PTSD, Cochrane (2013) states that the most effective are trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT) and desensitization by eye movement (DRMO). This is also supported by a systematic review published by Clinical Evidence (2010). As for what each technique consists of, on the one hand, CBCT, according to Bisson, Roberts, Andrew, Cooper, and Lewis (2013), is a variant of CBT that includes several techniques to help the patient overcome the traumatic event. It helps the patient to come to terms with the trauma through exposure to memories of the event. On the other hand, DRMO is a treatment that aims to help the patient.

Conclusions

I hope you found this post about PTSD useful. If you have any questions, you can leave me a comment. I will be happy to answer you. Also, if you want us to write about a specific topic, you can also propose a topic through a comment.

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