Posttraumatic stress disorder is a condition that can develop after an individual is exposed to a traumatic event. This can be any type of invest including, assault, rape, warfare, traffic collisions, terrorism, natural disasters, medical conditions, or abuse.
PTSD can begin at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may appear soon after a frightening event and then continue. Other people may develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can happen to anyone, even children.
Diagnostic criteria from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) are as follows.
Exposure to a stressful event or situation (either short or long lasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which is likely to cause pervasive distress in almost anyone.
Persistent remembering, or “reliving” the stressor by intrusive flashbacks, vivid memories, recurring dreams, or by experiencing distress when exposed to circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.
Actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor (not present before exposure to the stressor).
Either (1) or (2):
- Inability to recall, either partially or completely, some important aspects of the period of exposure to the stressor
- Persistent symptoms of increased psychological sensitivity and arousal (not present before exposure to the stressor) shown by any two of the following:
- difficulty in falling or staying asleep
- irritability or outbursts of anger
- difficulty in concentrating
- exaggerated startle response.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms can be any of the above described in the diagnosis. This can be sleep difficulty, personality change, difficulty concentrating, easily being startled, memories, flashbacks or nightmares, mood changes and disorders, reliving the event, and many others.
Prevention and Management
Treatment begins with first recognizing the problem. Tell your doctor about the symptoms you have been having. The earlier the recognition and management, the better the outcome may be. It is important to discuss this with your doctor.
Treatment may include any or all of the following (among others):
Therapy: Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and processing
Medications: Some include Fluoxetine, Venlafaxine, Paroxetine, glucocorticoids.
For patients suffering from PTSD, an authorized healthcare provider can certify patients to receive medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms.
National Center for PTSD – https://www.ptsd.va.gov/
PTSD Alliance – http://www.ptsdalliance.org/
Veterans Families United – http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/ptsd-resources/