If you or someone you love is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects of the condition. PTSD can affect every aspect of your life, including your mental and physical health. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common side effects of PTSD and what you can do to manage them.
A large percentage of those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have experienced a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist action, divorce or rape, or have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or significant injury.
People who have experienced trauma are more likely to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They may reenact the event through flashbacks or nightmares, feel sadness, fear, or anger, and feel detached or alienated from others. People with PTSD may avoid activities or people that remind them of the traumatic incident, and they might have severe negative reactions to something as simple as a loud bang or an accidental touch.
The symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder will vary based on the type of trauma endured. Following a trauma, the sense in which children are provided with feelings of security and protection in their surroundings will also influence the types of, and severity of, symptoms that they manifest. The following are some examples of behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms that children or teenagers may experience:
- People, places, activities, or events are being purposefully avoided.
- Communication is limited or unwilling.
- Startle response is exaggerated
- Sleep problems
- Replaying of memories
- Intense physical responses (e.g. muscular tension, profuse sweating, pounding heart, fast breathing, etc.)
- Concentration may be difficult
- Forgetting is a problem
- Nightmares at night
- A decline in interest in activities that one formerly enjoyed
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling isolated
- Fear of being deceived by others
- Heightened emotional arousal
- Feeling distant or emotionally detached
The causes and risk factors of post-traumatic stress disorder are defined differently than those of other mental illnesses.
Risk factors that are common in adults, such as marital discord or substance abuse. The following three factors have been identified as major risk contributors that increase the likelihood of a youngster developing PTSD: the severity of the trauma, parents’ (if present in their life) response to it, and distance or proximity to the event. Other possible risk factors include:
- Mental illness in the family line
- Being subjected to physical, sexual, or emotional assault.
- Experiencing the death of someone you loved or depended on
- Seeing people hurt or killed
- Going through the adoption procedure
- Surviving natural calamities such as tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes with worldwide repercussions on the child’s world immediately around
The symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder can have far-reaching negative consequences on people if they are not treated. These consequences will most certainly follow them for a longer period further. PTSD comes up with several co-occurring disorders. Some of the related conditions are explained below:
Acute Stress Disorder
Acute stress disorder is a type of anxiety that occurs as a result of an event. The symptoms are comparable to those of PTSD. However, acute stress disorder manifests itself between three days and one month after the event. People who have acute stress disorder may have recurrent recollections or nightmares, and they may feel numb. These symptoms cause significant distress and difficulties in their everyday lives. Around half of the persons with acute stress disorder develop PTSD as a result of their experience.
Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy, can aid in the management of symptoms and the prevention of them from worsening and developing into PTSD. Medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may assist with symptom relief.
Adjustment disorder is a mental health condition that develops in reaction to a stressful life event (or events). It is a type of disorder that affects individuals who are adjusting to significant life changes, such as the transition from school or work. It is characterized by feelings of irritability and dread that do not subside with time.
Symptoms include tension, sadness, or hopelessness; withdrawal from others, and physical manifestation such as tremors, palpitations, and headaches. The symptoms are extremely distressing or inhibit a person’s ability to function in important areas of his or her life, such as at work, school, or in social interactions.
The stressor may be a single incident (such as a love breakup), or it might be many events with a cumulative impact. Stressors can be recurring or continuous (for example, an ongoing painful illness that is becoming more serious). A single individual, a whole family, or a wider group or community might be impacted by stressors (for example, in the case of a natural catastrophe).
Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder
Children who have gone through severe social isolation or deprivation before the age of two develop disinhibited social engagement disorder. It can occur when children don’t receive the fundamental emotional requirements for comfort, activity, and affection, or when regular caregivers’ changes prevent them from developing stable attachments.
Disinhibited social engagement disorder occurs when a youngster displays overly familiar or culturally incorrect interactions with strangers. For example, the kid may be ready to go off with an unknown adult without hesitation. These actions disrupt the child’s capacity to interact socially with people of authority and age.
Some youngsters, on the other hand, continue to experience issues even after they got a good environment. Developmental delays, particularly cognitive and language impairments, are common comorbidities of this disease.
The precise incidence of disinhibited social engagement disorder is unknown, although it is uncommon. Most severely neglected youngsters do not develop the condition. The youngster and family work with a therapist to improve their connection to treat it.
Reactive Attachment Disorder
Reactive attachment disorder is a type of developmental trauma that affects young children who have had significant social isolation or deprivation during their first years of life. It can occur when youngsters do not receive the fundamental emotional needs for comfort, stimulation, and affection (or if changes in caregivers (such as frequent foster care transfers) prevent them from establishing durable attachments).
Children with reactive attachment disorder are emotionally distant from their grown-up caregivers. They seldom turn to adults for comfort, support, or protection when they are upset and do not react to comforting when distressed. They display little affection during routine encounters with caregivers and may exhibit inexplicable fear or sadness. The issues first show up before the age of 5 years old. Developmental delays, particularly in terms of cognitive and language abilities, are common among those who have the condition.
The following are some examples of the adverse effects that may occur simultaneously:
- Inability to establish or maintain good, healthy interpersonal connections
- Inability to believe others
- Fear, worry, and anxiety are persistent emotions.
- Low self-esteem
- Social isolation
- Self-destructive ideas and actions
There are solutions available to cope with the effects of PTSD. Some of them are:
It’s crucial to note that not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD, and not everyone who does requires psychiatric care. Symptoms of PTSD might go away or improve with time for some people.
Many individuals with PTSD obtain better with the aid of their support network (family, friends, or religious leaders). However, many people suffering from PTSD require professional therapy to overcome psychological trauma that can be severe and disabling. It’s crucial to note that traumatic experiences might induce profound suffering. The discomfort is not the fault of the sufferer, and PTSD is curable with therapy. The sooner a person gets help, the higher his or her chances of recovery.
Psychiatrists and other mental health specialists use a variety of proven (research-verified) strategies to aid trauma survivors in healing from PTSD. Both talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medication are useful therapies for PTSD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that has proven to be quite successful. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one form of psychotherapy that is highly effective. CBT therapies include Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Treatment, and Stress Inoculation Technique.
- The goal of Cognitive Processing Therapy is to reduce distressing negative emotions (such as shame, guilt, and so on) and ideas (such as “I have failed” or “the world is a dangerous place”). Therapists assist clients in confronting such unpleasant memories and feelings.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy, also known as imaginal or progressive exposure therapy, is a type of psychotherapy that uses repeated, vivid imagery of the trauma or symptom “triggers” in a safe and controlled manner to help people overcome their fears and emotional reactions. Virtual reality programs have been used to help war veterans with PTSD relive the battlefield in a controlled manner.
- Stress Inoculation Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that teach patients how to defend themselves against stressful situations in the same way a vaccine prevents infection after exposure to an illness.
Group Therapy is another type of therapy that works wonderfully. It allows people who have experienced similar traumas to share their experiences and feelings in a safe, non-threatening environment. Group members assist one another in recognizing that many others would have responded similarly and felt the same way. The behavior and anguish of the person with PTSD can influence the entire family, so family treatment may be beneficial as well.
Interpersonal, supportive, and psychodynamic therapies are further examples of other types of psychotherapy that focus on the emotional and interpersonal aspects of trauma. These may be useful for individuals who don’t want to remember their experiences.
Medication can assist with the symptoms of PTSD. The majority of contemporary antidepressant medications, including SSRIs and SNRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), treat the core symptoms of PTSD. They are frequently utilized alone or in combination with psychotherapy or other therapies.
Some Other Alternatives
Many people with PTSD use various remedies to treat anxiety and physical agitation, or the terrors and sleep disturbances that plague many sufferers.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments, including massage therapy and meditation, are also becoming more popular among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These methods of treatment often entail less talking and disclosure than psychotherapy. Acupuncture and animal-assisted therapy are further two more examples.
Many people with PTSD can benefit themselves with the support of a peer group. They can share their experiences and feelings with others who have gone through similar situations.
PTSD consequences are not only physical but also psychological. Side effects of this mental disorder can vary from person to person, and range in intensity. While some people may experience mild PTSD side effects, others may have more severe reactions. They can interfere with their everyday lives. It is very serious and may have a huge impact on a person’s life. It is important to be aware of these symptoms to get proper help if needed. If you think that you or someone close to you might be suffering from PTSD, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment options.
PTSD can take a toll on every aspect of your life live, from work and school performance to personal relationships. But with proper treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of PTSD and live a healthy and happy life. If you are struggling with PTSD, know that you are not alone. There is help available. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms or contact a mental health care provider.
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being has an impact on every aspect of your life. Your well-being essentially allows you to effectively deal with the complexity of life. You can contact Mantra Care to seek help. We have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.