Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a very hot topic. The United States and her allies have been involved in the Global War on Terrorism for over 10 years. We have seen a lot of veterans suffering from PTSD because of this. Over three million military personal have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq during this period.
More than 3 million combat deployments have been ordered since September 11, 2011. Approximately 800,000 veterans have deployed two, three, four or more times since the beginning of the conflict.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe, debilitating disorder occurring after experiencing or witnessing a life threatening event that involves horror and intense fear, serious injury, or sexual violations.
According to the DSM 5, diagnosis requires exposure to a traumatic event and symptoms from four categories:
- Directly experiences the traumatic event
- Witnesses the traumatic event in person
- Learns a traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend (with actual or threatened death being either violent or accidental)
- Experiences first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event (not through media, pictures, television or movies unless work related)
Hyperarousal includes sleep problems, anger/irritability, concentration problems. You may feel like you are always on edge or on guard, feel jumpy, and be easily startled. Increased arousal could also include physical symptoms, such as pounding heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, and rapid breathing. These symptoms keep you stressed and eventually exhausted.
Avoidance of trauma reminders may include trying not to think or talk about the trauma. It can also include trying not to have feelings about it. It may also include staying away from activities, people, places, and situations that bring up trauma memories. These symptoms leave you feeling apart from the people and surroundings in your life.
Emotional numbing includes losing interest in activities that used to be important to you. It includes feeling detached or estranged from important people in your life and feeling unable to have normal emotions. It also may feel like you are losing a sense that you have a long-term future. These symptoms diminish your relationships with those closest to you.
Re-experiencing (repeatedly reliving) the trauma can be in several forms. It could be nightmares, intrusive memories or images, flashbacks, or intense emotional or physical reactions to reminder of the trauma. These symptoms frequently leave you feeling like you are going crazy.