Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Five: Facts About Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Attribution Some rights reserved by US Army Africa
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that some people get after seeing or living through a dangerous event. When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid, and the body makes changes (often referred to as a "fight-or-flight" response) to defend against the danger or to avoid it. With PTSD, this reaction lingers, leaving people with the disorder feeling stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

- PTSD can happen after living through something upsetting or dangerous. This can include:
~ being a victim of or seeing violence
~ the death or serious illness of a loved one
~ war or combat
~ car accidents or plane crashes
~ hurricanes, tornadoes or fires
~ violent crimes (robberies or shootings)

- Symptoms of PTSD can include:
~ bad dreams
~ flashbacks
~ scary thoughts you can't control
~ staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened
~ feeling worried, guilty or sad
~ trouble sleeping
~ angry outbursts
~ thoughts of hurting yourself or others

- PTSD can happen to anyone at any age. Children get PTSD too, and may show other symptoms, including:
~ behaving like they did when they were younger
~ being unable to talk
~ complaining of stomach problems or headaches
~ refusing to go places or play with friends

- PTSD can be treated. Treatment may include "talk" therapy and/or medication, and can take 6 to 12 weeks or longer to complete. Treatment is not the same for everyone.

(This week's Friday Five facts are taken from the National Institute of Mental Health's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder booklet and definition sheet. For more information about PTSD and other mental illnesses, visit the NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania website.)

No comments: