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PTSD: treatments, causes, prevention

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PTSD can affect a person’s ability to work, perform day-to-day activities or relate to their family and friends. A person with PTSD can often seem disinterested or distant as they try not to think or feel in order to block out painful memories. They may stop them from participating in family life or ignore offers of help.


What are the symptoms of PTSD?


  • Intense feelings of distress when reminded of a tragic event
  • Extreme physical reactions to reminders of trauma such as a nausea, sweating or a pounding heart
  • Invasive, upsetting memories of a tragedy
  • Flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening again)
  • Nightmares of either frightening things or of the event
  • Loss of interest in life and daily activities
  • Feeling emotionally numb and detached from other people
  • Sense of a not leading a normal life (not having a positive outlook of your future)
  • Avoiding certain activities, feelings, thoughts or places that remind you of the tragedy
  • Difficulty remembering important aspects of a tragic event

When should you see a doctor?

If you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they're severe, or if you feel you're having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.


What causes PTSD?

  • Stressful experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma you've gone through in your life
  • Inherited mental health risks, such as a family history of anxiety and depression
  • Inherited features of your personality — often called your temperament
  • The way your brain regulates the chemicals and hormones your body releases in response to stress.


How can I treat PTSD?

Short- and long-term psychotherapy and medications can work very well. Often, the two kinds of treatment are more effective together. Most PTSD therapies fall under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The idea is to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your 

Life.


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PTSD

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