What is it?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that describes a patient’s difficulty coping with a traumatic life event. Traumatic life events include the threat of injury or death, such as military combat, physical and sexual assault, motor accident, or a natural disaster like tsunami or earthquake. Patients with PTSD will experience episodes of fear or nightmares triggered by words, sounds, or situations that remind them of the trauma. The recurrent symptoms and constant fear damage their personal or professional life

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Concentration camp syndrome
- Complex Post Traumatic Disorder
- Flashbacks

Signs & symptoms

Patients may experience the symptoms right after the traumatic event; however, the disorder can start many months afterward. Symptoms should last at least a month, and may include:
- Recurrent flashbacks – the patients may feel as if they are re-experiencing the traumatic event.
- Persistent Nightmares or thoughts about the traumatic events.
- Feeling of being on edge or angry.
- Irritability or distress.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Avoidance of situations that may trigger the trauma.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Negative thoughts, feeling of guilt, or low self-esteem.
- Difficulty remembering parts of the event.
Patients may also experience episodes of depression or panic attacks: short duration attacks of intense fear, discomfort, tremor, and nausea that usually last less than 10 minutes.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made via a psychiatric assessment, conducted by a psychiatrist – a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. This assessment includes questioning, physical exams, cognitive exams, and other tests that might exclude other diseases or conditions.

Treatment

Treatment for PTSD includes psychotherapy and medication. The preferred psychotherapy method is cognitive-behavioral therapy, specifically gradual exposure, where the patients talk or experience parts of the traumatic event in a safe environment to reduce the triggers and symptoms associated. Medical treatment includes antidepressant medications and sedative medications to aid sleeping.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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