Again, I think it is important to refresh our memories on what PTSD is. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is an anxiety (emotional) disorder which arises from a particular incident evoking significant stress. This stress severely impacts and damages the ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response in a person who is experiencing the effects of trauma. When in danger, it is natural to feel afraid. The body makes many split-second changes to prepare to defend against or avoid the danger that is life-threatening. This ‘fight-or-flight’ response is a healthy reaction meant to protect the person from harm. In PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed, frightened, or anxious even when they are no longer in danger. PTSD’s common characteristics are: re-experiencing of the trauma in thought, feeling or in dreams, which is further evidenced by the individual taking steps to psychologically and emotionally numb themselves from the event (this can take many forms, for example, substance abuse). Other symptoms to look for: feelings of strong guilt and depression; feeling emotionally numb; loss of interest in work or activities once enjoyable in the past; anger; feeling tense or on “edge”; having difficultly sleeping; cynicism and distrust of others; memory loss of past events; alienation and isolation from others. There are other symptoms, but these are the big ones.
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