We usually associate the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) with dangerous occupations. We hear news about soldiers returning home from war zones, law enforcement officers after years of service on the street, firefighters and even emergency medical and ambulance personnel. Traumatic events that these people experiences can leave a harmful, long-lasting effect on their psychological well-being and interfere with normal functioning.
However, the risk of developing PTSD isn’t limited just to these hazardous occupations. If you experience a stressful and traumatic event, or witness events such as assault, robbery, natural disaster, kidnapping, physical or emotional abuse it can also contribute to developing PTSD.
The symptoms of PTSD may develop almost instantly after the traumatic event or even months or years later. They include sleep problems, nightmares, inability to feel positive emotions, irritability, auto-destructive behavior, self-harm, problems with focus and concentration, etc. If you, someone in your family or a close friend have been diagnosed with PTSD, the handling of it may prove difficult but fortunately with proper treatment and support it can be overcome, resulting in leading a happy, fulfilling life.
The optimal combination of treatments which yields best results involves proper medication, psychological treatments with a therapist, alongside exercise, mindfulness, and self-help.
The most effective medications for treating PTSD are antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They include citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, sertaline, etc. The advantage of SSRIs is that they are better tolerated than older types of antidepressants. The antidepressants usually take several weeks to take effect. You should consult with the doctor about the dosage and for how long you should take antidepressants. Your doctor should check the general state of your health if you experience chronic pain, as well as your habits and lifestyle, specifically if you’re at risk of having diabetes or heart-related illnesses.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction
This technique instructs you how to be in the present moment in a non-judgmental, accepting way. We are all able to be mindful, so this method focuses on cultivating your ability to pay attention to the present moment, to clear your mind of an unnecessary burden, thus allowing you to respond instead of reacting to certain situations, and ultimately improving your decision making and prospect for psychological and physical serenity. The duration of this treatment is usually eight weeks, in a group with other people or sometimes one on one with a therapist. You can also practice this at home.
Coupled with proper medication and therapy physical activity can considerably help you in alleviating symptoms of PTSD. Try half an hour resistance training with a walking program, over the course of twelve weeks. The results are reduced depression, improved quality of sleep and significantly diminished effects of PTSD.
Another aspect of PTSD is genetic, i.e. some people are genetically more prone to PTSD, especially if experiencing a traumatic event. In order to get the proper diagnosis, it is advisable for you to get preliminary genetic testing.
If you’re concerned that you or your loved one suffers from PTSD, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the neuroscience center for proper diagnosis and optimal treatment: