Causes and Effects of PTSD

Many individuals struggling with mental health disorders are often times dealing with Trauma. Crestwyn offers treatment for Trauma in a safe and healing environment.

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The upsetting symptoms that can occur after immediate or recurring traumatic experiences can signal the onset of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma is considered an unexpected event that an individual perceived as life-threatening or uncontrollable, such as experiencing or witnessing violence, abuse, natural or manmade disasters, military combat, or frightening injuries. An individual can also experience an onset of PTSD symptoms from witnessing or learning about events without having them occur to him or her directly.

Individual who struggle with PTSD might experience continual, invasive memories of the traumatic event. These memories can present themselves in the form of nightmares or flashbacks, which can grow so severe that an individual actually loses touch with reality and views the experience as happening again. In an effort to avoid these experiences, an individual might attempt to avoid people or situations that could remind him or her of that experience. An individual’s mood, attitude, behavioral patterns, and perceptions can change dramatically. In many instances, individuals with PTSD might experience problems sleeping or relaxing, battle with anger or irritability, and have trouble being happy.

Thankfully, there are treatment centers that are prepared to help those who are struggling with PTSD. By obtaining care, an individual can begin to live a life that is no longer negatively impacted by this upsetting condition.

Statistics

Within a given year, roughly 3.5% of Americans will battle with PTSD. The average risk of developing this condition at some point in life in 8.7%. Military veterans are at the most risk for experiencing PTSD symptoms, as their rates of developing this disorder are roughly 75%.

Causes and Risk Factors for Post traumatic Stress Disorder

A PTSD diagnosis cannot be provided without the occurrence of a previous traumatic event. There are additional factors that can add to an individual’s likelihood of developing PTSD after trauma, including:

Genetic: A traumatic experience is more likely to cause PTSD in someone who is genetically predisposed to suffering from this condition. Those with a first-degree relative with a mental illness like PTSD or anxiety are more likely to develop this condition if they experience trauma.

Environmental: In addition to genetic factors, an individual’s environment can also affect his or her chances of developing PTSD after experiencing trauma. Certain childhood experiences, such as poverty, can increase one’s risk of developing PTSD. In addition, the nature of the event can also impact one’s chances of struggling with PTSD symptoms. Exposure to numerous traumatic events, or repeated events, can also increase the risk of PTSD.

Risk Factors:

  • Experiencing traumatic events as a child
  • Being a racial or ethnic minority
  • Gender (females suffer from PTSD more often than males)
  • History of interpersonal violence or domestic violence
  • Being a victim of abuse
  • Lack of social support
  • Poor coping abilities
  • Personal history of mental illness

Signs and Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

The symptoms of PTSD can fall into three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, which serve as reminders of the experience; avoidance symptoms, which include efforts to avoid people, places; or situations connected to the trauma, and hyperarousal symptoms, which includes increased awareness of one’s surroundings. Examples of symptoms that fall into each of these categories are listed below.

Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Flashbacks, or strong dissociative reactions that cause a person to feel as though he or she is in the midst of the traumatic experience again
  • Nightmares or intense, disturbing dreams
  • Elevated physiological responses, including difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, and sweating
  • Involuntary, intrusive, or distressing memories of the trauma

Avoidance symptoms:

  • Difficulty feeling, or inability to feel, positive emotions
  • Difficulty remembering details about the traumatic experience
  • Attempting to not think about memories or feelings associated with the traumatic event
  • Feeling detached from life or hopeless about the future
  • Intentionally staying away from people, places, situations, or conversations that remind a person of the trauma

Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Engaging in risky, reckless, or self-destructive behaviours
  • Excessive alertness to one’s environment (hypervigilance)
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Jumpiness

Effects of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

If PTSD symptoms continue to go untreated, the mental and physical symptoms of it can lead to the effects listed below:

  • Poor work performance
  • Frequent absences from work
  • Loss of employment
  • Poor academic performance
  • Frequent absences from school
  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Violence and reckless activity
  • Substance abuse
  • Homelessness
  • Additional mental disorders
  • Family relational distress
  • Relationship problems
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Suicide

Co-Occurring Disorders

The onset of PTSD increases the chances of developing additional mental health conditions. Some of the most common disorders that can co-occur alongside of PTSD include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major neurocognitive disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Substance use disorders

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