Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Effects and the Need for Treatment
Traumatic experiences trigger protective responses throughout the body, causing a surge of chemicals to flood the brain. Depending on a person’s physiological make-up, these effects can have a lasting impression on his or her mental and emotional well-being. Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD develops out of these conditions.
According to the University of Colorado at Denver, an estimated eight percent of the U. S. population develops post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives. Without needed treatment help, the effects of PTSD gradually diminish a person’s quality of life over time. As traumatic events can take different forms and occur within different types of circumstances, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment approaches can vary depending on each person’s treatment needs.
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Nature has equipped the human body with ready protective mechanisms designed to move a person out of harm’s way in the event of danger or threat. In turn, the body’s “flight-or-flight” mechanism can trigger a series of biochemical reactions at a moment’s notice.
When a traumatic situation overloads the body’s ability to adjust, the “fight-or-flight” mechanism becomes impaired, according to the National Institute on Mental Health. When this happens, feelings of stress and anxiety persist in the absence of any apparent threat or danger. Since PTSD stems from chemical imbalances in the brain, experiencing fear and anxiety on a repeated, ongoing basis only works to worsen PTSD symptoms over time.
PTSD Lifestyle Effects
When left untreated, PTSD not only becomes a source of continued discomfort, but also starts to interfere with a person’s overall lifestyle. Someone living with PTSD develops thought and emotion-based patterns that feed into the symptoms that result. In effect, a person takes on a mindset that’s prone to anxiety-based responses towards his or her surrounding environment.
Lifestyle effects brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder include:
- A numbing of the emotions in general
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Constant feelings of guilt, worry and/or depression
- Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event, such as certain people, places and even objects
- Easily startled
- Sleep problems
- Feeling edgy most of the time
- Angry outbursts
The Need for Rehab Treatment Help
PTSD rehab treatment focuses on undoing the faulty thinking patterns and belief systems that support fear-based behaviors and replacing them with a healthy outlook on daily life. To do this, rehab programs use psychotherapy treatment as a means for helping individuals identify and work through faulty belief systems.
According to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy treatments work well as treatment approaches, with each method treating different aspects of the post-traumatic stress disorder complex. Whereas cognitive-behavioral therapies work directly with a person’s thinking processes, exposure therapy helps desensitize him or her to the emotions surrounding the traumatic event.
People who experience severe forms of PTSD will likely require medication treatment in addition to psychotherapy as chemical imbalances in the brain have reached a point where some level of medicinal support is needed. Medications commonly used to treat PTSD include antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Celexa.
Considering the problems post-traumatic stress disorder causes within the brain’s chemical system, the longer you put off getting needed treatment help the more treatment-resistant the condition becomes.
If you or someone you know suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and are considering getting treatment help, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320 for information on PTSD rehab programs in your area.