When a person is in danger, it is natural to feel fear. This feeling triggers a variety of split-second changes in the body and mind to defend against the danger or to simply avoid it – the “fight or flight” response.
Many people have difficulty adjusting to life after experiencing a traumatic event. This is an ordinary reaction and while it takes some time getting back to normal, it does happen. However, when this otherwise normal reaction is damaged, a person is known to experience what medical professionals call “Post Traumatic Stress,” or PTS. PTS can be a debilitating mental disorder in which those suffering actually feel fear or stress when there is no apparent or immediate danger. The disorder is usually triggered by a terrifying and stressful event.
Though the underlying cause of PTS is a traumatic event, things like the brain structure and genetics are also thought to play a role. Currently, scientists are looking at the genes that create fear memories and responses as well as the actual structures within the brain that relate to learning, memory, and emotion. Understanding these will inevitably lead to more succinct and efficient ways of dealing with PTS.
PTS often develops differently among individuals, but typical symptoms include nightmares, panic attacks, severe anxiety, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event in question. Usually, symptoms manifest within hours or days of the event, but it could also take weeks, months, or years.
Although PTS was first brought to public attention in relation to those who have served in the armed forces, it can happen to anyone – man, woman, or child. Anyone that has lived through an overwhelming life experience or trauma, or simply witnesses one, may be susceptible, especially if the event is uncontrollable and unpredictable. In fact, almost eight million Americans have been diagnosed with PTS. But remember, not everyone who has lived through a traumatic event will develop the disorder.
There are a number of factors that determine if a person will develop PTS and how resilient they will be should it happen. For example, if an individual is easily stressed and a traumatic event takes place, he or she may be more likely to develop PTS. PTS is a disorder that completely shakes up one’s life, but it doesn’t have to.
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with PTS is to seek help right away. Getting the help of a medical professional is always best, as therapy, counseling, and medication can often get the symptoms of PTS under control. A doctor can help a patient determine if they should buy Paxil, take other antidepressants or antipsychotics, seek therapy, or a combination of these treatments.
In addition to seeking medical attention, there are things PTS sufferers can do on their own. First and foremost, always follow the advice of medical professionals and never self-medicate – this can be extremely dangerous. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough rest, and exercising can also relieve the stress and other symptoms presented by PTS.
Just remember, patients and doctors work closely to determine the best mode of treatment along the way. When effort is taken to treat PTS, many patients can get back to living a normal life within just a few weeks. There is light at the end of the tunnel.