There are many types of trauma, and they all significantly disrupt the brain’s functioning. Experiencing overwhelming situations such as the death or severe injury can cause lingering psychological struggles.
Physical trauma, such as being in the proximity of explosions, can have a similar effect. Recently modern medicine has begun to understand the scope of emotional damage trauma can cause and how best to treat it.
What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
A syndrome has been identified in many individuals who have been exposed to major trauma. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been known to affect soldiers, victims of violent crime or major accidents as well as other people who were exposed to intensely stressful situations. PTSD affects the chemistry and functioning of the brain that can have devastating personal consequences if left untreated.
Symptoms of PTSD include the following:
- Panic attacks
- Intense emotional swings
- Inability to sleep
- Emotional flashbacks
- Substance abuse
If left untreated PTSD can lead to self-destructive or violent behavior or chemical addiction. Individuals with PTSD will find it difficult or impossible to maintain employment, complete classes, maintain healthy relationships or manage the day-to-day details of life. The condition is the result of damaged neurological function in the brain and it can be degenerative.
Because many people who suffer from this disease are soldiers, first responders and other stereotypically tough types, they may be unlikely to seek help. Increasing numbers of affected soldiers, however, are starting to see PTSD as a real disease that they deserve treatment for.
How to Treat PTSD
PTSD treatment often includes talk therapy as well as medical treatment. Each case is unique and each patient deserves a personalized treatment plan designed around her own unique needs. Some of the most effective PTSD treatment programs include the following elements:
- Personal counseling of various types
- Support group meetings
- Medical treatment
- Learning new coping techniques
- Addiction treatment if necessary