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Trauma & Post Traumatic Stress

Trauma & Post Traumatic Stress

Traumatic stress disables more people than all physical disabilities combined

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is diagnosed as debilitating physical and mental symptoms that disrupts your daily life following a traumatic event. Some examples of traumatic events are sexual assault, child abuse, domestic abuse, war, natural disasters, serious accidents, muggings, or terrorist attacks. PTSD can also develop after witnessing someone close to you experiencing a traumatic or life-threatening event.

Not every person experiencing a traumatic event develops PTSD. PTSD is diagnosed only when symptoms last more than a month and interfere with your daily life. PTSD often does not develop until several months or years after the traumatic event. Anniversary dates can trigger powerful memories of the traumatic experience.

Because ordinary events and situations can trigger disturbing reminders of the trauma, people suffering from PTSD often severely limit their daily activities. Panic attacks can occur with PTSD when a person is faced with situations or things that are reminders of the traumatic event.

Some people experience PTSD following a traumatic experience, while others do not. There are several factors that experts believe contribute to PTSD, in addition to the trauma itself:

  • Overactive "fight or flight" response - When the body mistakenly interprets stimuli as a danger and activates its self-protective response, it creates symptoms. As a result of the frequent activation of the fight or flight response, the "warning" alarm becomes reset at a higher level over time.
  • Stress Overload/Lifestyle Factors - Some examples are intense or prolonged stress, lack of sleep, overwork, poor diet, poor breathing patterns, grief or trauma.
  • Childhood Environment - Growing up in a family where others are fearful or anxious can "teach" a child to view the world as a scary place and learn to expect the worst. Likewise, growing up in an environment that negates feelings, contains violence, or does not teach healthy coping strategies can set the stage for anxiety.
  • Thought Patterns - Negative, unrealistic, or self-defeating thought patterns promote obsessive thinking, what-if thinking, racing thoughts, and other anxious thoughts about the trauma.
  • Genetic Factors - Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. There is debate as to how much of this predisposition is learned from our childhood environment and how much is genetic.
  • Unresolved Emotions Regarding the Trauma - It is natural and healthy to feel anger, grief, and other emotions are a trauma. When these normal emotions are not expressed or resolved in a healthy way, they can perpetuate PTSD.

Trauma | by Dr. Radut