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Effects of PTSD on a Person's Quality of Life
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Fear is a natural emotion instilled in people since birth, however, an abnormal level of this emotion usually indicates a mental condition. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition that people who have experienced a life-threatening event can develop. This mental disorder can be triggered by dreadful events, such as war, rape, or other forms of abuse. This condition can be best described as a “fight or flight” reaction which is an exaggerated form of response to fear, even when the level of danger is minimal. PTSD greatly affects a person’s quality of life, making its victims in need of closer attention.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Generally, the symptoms of PTSD include avoidance, recurring memories, negative thinking, and unusual physical and emotional reactions. These range from nightmares (patient dreaming about the traumatic experience repetitively) to aggressiveness or violent behavior, e.g. defensive/offensive position upon hearing a non-threatening loud sound, etc. (NIH, 2019). The following are a few symptoms that people with PTSD may exhibit:
1. PTSD in Children
The symptoms of PTSD vary widely – some mild and barely noticeable, while others are highly dangerous. The symptoms between adults and children are different too, making it a little trickier to decide whether the behavior is normal to children or is a symptom of a mental condition. For instance, it is normal for kids to wet their beds even after learning to use the toilet independently - this scenario can be a symptom of PTSD on children.
Mood swings are also normal for children. Sometimes, children simply do not want to talk to adults or to anyone for no reason. Other times, they are extra clingy to their parents. Both situations seem normal, however, these too can be a sign of PTSD (NIH, 2019). It is therefore safer to say that parents should leave room for other catalysts in their child’s behavior other than pushing the signs as simple products of an overactive imagination.
Take a few minutes to observe the child and take note of any unusual behavior which affects some or all aspects of their lives, i.e. socialization, sleeping, talking, etc. Such unusual behavior can be seen during playtime – when a child portrays a scary scenario or character. You can even find signs of it on the child’s doodles and artworks. The best option is to take the child to a pediatric psychologist for an accurate interpretation of the child’s unusual behavior.
2. PTSD in Teenagers and Young Adults
The symptoms of PTSD among teenagers and young adults can also be difficult to discern since they may be confused with the usual problems with teenagers. Substance abuse is a usual sign of teenage rebellion, and authorities often forget that it too can also be a sign of PTSD or other mental problems, such as anxiety and depression.
Even young adults can be regarded as an alcoholic or drug addicts, but what is always last on the list of causes of such behavior is a traumatic event. Teenagers often find it more difficult to face their fears, therefore their ability to find and form an escape seems to become a normal reaction. Even suicide is regarded as a common issue among teenagers and young adults (oftentimes due to bullying and pressure). However, it is reasonable to mention that if young adult fails to find an escape that helps them get through the day, suicide is always on the other end of the solution rope.
3. PTSD in Adults
Rick Nauert from Psych Central mentioned that men are at risk of getting PTSD at the ages of 41 to 45. On the other hand, women are most at risk of acquiring PTSD at ages 51-55 (Nauert, 2019). We often find adults as the victims of PTSD in movies, such as American Sniper and Jacob’s Ladder – and most of them are about soldiers who had experienced wars. This is because the level of fear for one to get the risk of acquiring PTSD is normally as high as being literally a few inches away from a detonating bomb. This life-threatening situation not only affects the person’s future behavior but also during that very moment. They can go through “dissociative experience” – a mental reaction to escape the danger through the mind, wherein the person can detach himself from all the stimuli surrounding the event except sight (Better Health Channel). For instance, a person with PTSD may describe the trauma as if he or she was watching it from a third-person perspective.
Victims of PTSD can exhibit symptoms that are not common to the person’s age bracket. The apparent signs can also depend on whether the person has other mental conditions. In some cases, PTSD cannot be noticed at all, especially in people who are not much of a talker. Such symptoms as trouble with sleeping or focusing are only obvious to the victim, but not to the people that surround them. Doctors advise people who have a severely traumatic experience to seek help immediately if they notice anything strange with their behavior, particularly the tendency to hurt others or themselves.
What are the specific causes of PTSD?
Fear is the most important factor in determining if a person is suffering from PTSD, therefore, it is important to determine what triggers the condition. The number one cause of PTSD is trauma – this refers to any experience which may have put the person under severe stress and danger. A person with PTSD may have experienced childhood abuse, torture, combat experience, sexual abuse, accident, and the likes (Mayo Clinic). In some cases, this condition can also stem from other mental conditions such as anxiety and depression, among other hereditary mental disorders.
Impact of PTSD on Day-To-Day Life
PTSD can highly affect a person’s day-to-day life including work, school, and any other day-to-day activities even if the environment is familiar. Disinterest is also a major concern to people with PTSD as this can severely affect their performance, regardless of what they are doing. Mistakes can be often since disinterest also entails the loss of focus. In terms of social relationships, people with PTSD often find themselves distant from their friends, even from their relatives (Better Health Channel). This often leads the people that surround them to feel shut out, despite the fact that the person actually needs professional help.
The feeling of being defensive and scared all the time is also another factor that can affect a person’s routine. A non-related item – be it a smell or a change in temperature – can trigger a flashback, pushing the person into thinking that the traumatic event is happening again. This, accompanied by nightmares, make people with PTSD often restless and uneasy. This restlessness consequently triggers sleep disorders that heavily affect anyone’s productivity.
The symptoms of PTSD, like many other mental conditions, are difficult to control if not impossible. A person with PTSD may avoid all people and places that they can associate with the traumatic experience, hence, isolation is inevitable most of the time. Isolation further worsens the condition as people with PTSD will be confined to their own minds. Since flashbacks are uncontrollable, this can lead to disastrous events and a serious struggle with suicidal tendencies. Also, the drastic effect on the physical attributes can show later on as people with PTSD lose sleep, appetite, and overall energy to move and do usual activities.
Treatment for PTSD
There are a number of counseling centers for victims of PTSD. Ideally, a person with PTSD should be able to learn how to confront their fears by coming to terms with the uncomfortable experience over time. Counseling centers not only allow the person to acquire a few strategies that can work with their case, it also allows the person to realize that he or she is not the only one who is trying to win against the condition (Phoenix Australia, n.d.). This can eventually aid the person to open up new relationships and slowly ease into socialization again.
Medication can also be combined with counseling procedures. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to people with PTSD to aid the patient in managing traumatic feelings. While others feel the positive effects of the treatment almost immediately, it may take more time for some. The important thing is to continue with the treatment or look for another treatment procedure that works better for the patient.
PTSD is only one of the many mental conditions that need careful attention and support. It is significant for people surrounding a person with a traumatic experience to not downplay any of the victim’s negative thoughts or emotions. It is easy to advise a person to simply “not think about it,” but it is and will never be that simple. Utmost understanding and support are crucial in helping a person with PTSD to manage his or her emotions and slowly get back to his or her normal self. PTSD is also one of the most common essay topics that students in the course of Psychology and related fields write a paper on. If you need an essay or coursework on Psychology, particularly PTSD or other mental conditions, feel free to have a chat with CustomEssayMeister so we can help you.
Better Health Channel. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Retrieved 22 July 2020, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd?viewAsPdf=true.
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.) Post-traumatic stress disorder. Disease Conditions. Retrieved on 22 July 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967?p=1
National Institute of Mental. (May 2019). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Retrieved on 22 July 22, 2020, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.
Nauert, R. (2019). Risk for PTSD varies by gender, age. Psych Central. Retrieved on 22 July 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/07/22/risk-for-ptsd-varies-by-gender-age/15875.html.
Phoenix Australia. PTSD counselling. Treatment Options. Retrieved on 22 July 26, 2020, from https://www.phoenixaustralia.org/recovery/effects-of-trauma/ptsd/.