'You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that my love is bravery.'
Post-traumatic system disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic event or situation, as fear triggers the body and mind’s natural defense system to defend or avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect us from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger. It’s important to note that not everyone diagnosed with PTSD has experienced or been through a dangerous situation. Symptoms usually begin early, within three months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within six months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following:
- Re-experiencing symptoms/Intrusive symptoms, i.e. intrusive memories, nightmares and flashbacks.
- Avoidance of distressing trauma-related stimuli and triggers
- Changes in arousal and reactivity, i.e. feeling irritable, being hypervigilant, having sleep disturbances and self-destructive or reckless behavior.
- Negative changes to mood and thoughts, i.e. amnesia, distorted feelings of blame, decreased interest, and an inability to experience positive emotions.