What Is Post traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder popularly referred to as PTSD is a condition related to mental health which is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing some horrifying event. Many people experience events that are traumatic and have problems with coping and adjusting to the trauma of the event. However, over time, they get better. If the symptoms get worse over the months or years and starts affecting the daily functioning, the person can be suffering from PTSD. The symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can also affect relationships, work or social situations.
Getting treatment for PTSD can help to reduce the symptoms and helps to improve the functioning of the person.
What Are The Symptoms Of Post traumatic stress disorder?
Sometimes, the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may start within a month of the occurrence of the traumatic event or sometimes the symptoms may not appear until many years after the particular event.
Symptoms of PTSD can be classified into 4 groups:
- Repeated and unpleasant memories of the traumatic event that can be distressing.
- Flashback (reliving the event).
- Nightmares or bad dreams about the traumatic event.
- Physical reactions or emotional distress to things that remind of the traumatic event.
- Avoiding talking or thinking about the traumatic event.
- Avoiding people, activities, and places that remind of the traumatic event.
Negative changes in mood and thinking
- Negative thoughts about self, other people and the world in general.
- A feeling of hopelessness about the future.
- Memory issues, unable to remember important aspects related to the traumatic event.
- Problem with experiencing positive emotions.
- Lack of interest in activities that the person enjoys.
- Feeling of detachment from family members and friends.
- Feeling or emotional numbness.
- Problems in maintaining relationships.
Changes in emotional and physical reactions (arousal symptoms)
- Getting frightened or startled very easily.
- Following self-destructive behavior such as driving too fast, drinking too much, etc.
- Always being on guard from danger.
- Sleeping trouble.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Aggressive behavior, an outburst of anger, irritability.
- Overwhelming shame or guilt.
Symptoms in children of 6 years or younger
- Replaying the aspects of the traumatic event or the event itself via play.
- The occurrence of frightening dreams that may or may not include the parts of the traumatic event.
What Are The Causes Of Post traumatic stress disorder?
PTSD can be developed when a person sees or learns about any event causing threatened or actual death, sexual violation or serious injury.
The common causes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder include are:
- Brain Structures: Some parts of the brain regulate fear and emotions are different compared to the areas that do not develop PTSD after any traumatic event.
- Genetic Factors: If there is a family history of anxiety disorders. People having blood relatives who have anxiety disorders have a greater risk of developing the disorder. Although this may not be a definite cause of PTSD, it puts you at a greater risk of developing PTSD after any traumatic event.
- Environmental Factors: People with a history of stress and trauma are at a greater risk of developing PTSD compared to those who do not have such as history. Also, children belonging to families with addiction, are at a bigger risk of developing PTSD.
- Psychological Factors: People suffering from certain kinds of mental illness such as depression and anxiety at a larger risk for developing PTSD.
Some of the risks of developing PTSD are:
- Experiencing long-lasting or intense trauma.
- Having a job that has greater exposure to traumatic events such as first responders, military personnel, etc.
- Problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
- Not having a good family and friends support system.
- Some trauma earlier in life like childhood abuse.
Some traumatic events that may cause PTSD are:
- Exposure to combat, sexual violence
- Physical abuse during childhood, threatened with a weapon
- Physical assault, an accident
Other traumatic events that may cause PTSD are plane crash, kidnapping, robbery, mugging, fire, torture, life-threatening accounts, natural disaster, a medical diagnosis that can lead to a threat to life.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Post traumatic stress disorder?
Be patient and understanding while dealing with people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If you are suffering from PTSD:
- Make sure that you understand and get information about the disorder and educate your loved ones too.
- Get help and support and speak about your problem. This can help the stress reactions from worsening and developing into PTSD.
- If prescribed medicines, then ensure that you take it properly.
- Join a support group.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Post traumatic stress disorder?
- Avoid drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.
- Don’t ignore the feelings you are experiencing.
- Don’t keep the traumatic experience to yourself and share it with others.
- Avoid blaming yourself for the traumatic event.
- Avoid exposing yourself to the situation that reminds you of the traumatic experience.
What Are The Best Foods For Post traumatic stress disorder?
- One major symptom of PTSD is high cortisol levels in the body that causes stress. Consume foods that reduce cortisol levels such as whole, anti-inflammatory foods.
- Include fiber-rich foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, beans, grain cereals and bread, beets, strawberries, carrots and citrus fruits, which help to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
- Include foods that are rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and strawberries to as they help in controlling the symptoms related to PTSD.
- Complex carbs, fiber-rich foods like whole grains help to increase tryptophan which is converted into serotonin that helps to elevate the mood.
- Eating foods rich in folic acid like sprouts, oranges, grapefruit, nuts, legumes, green veggies, etc. can help in the case of PTSD.
- Consume foods that are high in protein such as meat, eggs, fish, poultry, cheese, tofu, legumes or tofu contain tyrosine, an amino acid that produces neurotransmitters like epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine that reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
- Foods like mackerel, olive oil, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, help to improve mood and lessen PTSD symptoms.
- Consume foods rich in iron such as dried fruit, egg yolks, liver, artichokes, red meat, etc. as they help to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
- Foods rich in vitamin D such as fortified soymilk or milk, salmon helps to increase serotonin production and help in PTSD.
- Consuming foods rich in thiamine or vitamin B12 like pork, yeast, cauliflower, whole grains and eggs help in reducing the PTSD symptoms.
- Foods like sunflower seeds, tuna, Brazil nuts, swordfish rich in selenium are beneficial to relieve the symptoms of PTSD.
- Lentils, oats, soybeans, peanuts, cauliflower, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, potatoes, butter, etc. are rich in choline, a neurotransmitter that can aid in the case of PTSD.
What Are The Worst Foods For Post traumatic stress disorder?
- Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, etc. as they cause anxiety and worsen the symptoms of PTSD.
- Eliminate foods such as dairy, corn, soy, food preservative and additives and gluten (wheat) as they cause PTSD to worsen.
What Are The Medicines For Post traumatic stress disorder?
What Are The Tips To Manage Post traumatic stress disorder?
- If you are suffering from PTSD, you can join a support group, who can listen and give comfort.
- You can get help from a professional therapist, mental health professional or counselor, who can offer you help to handle your anxiety, stress and other symptoms of PTSD.
- Exercise is the best and natural remedy that helps to release endorphins and lowers stress and helps if you suffer from PTSD.
- Aromatherapy oils such as lavender, chamomile, lemon, and geranium have calming, soothing and relaxing effects and can help to reduce anxiety and stress, the symptoms of PTSD. You can add a few drops to cloth and breathe in, diffuse the oils or get a massage using the oils.
Some natural remedies for PTSD are:
- Green tea has properties that can help you to reduce stress and relax and the other symptoms associated with PTSD.
- Dong Quai is a Chinese herb that helps to prevent anxiety and panic and relieves the symptoms of PTSD.
- Adding basil leaves to tea or chewing them helps to support the adrenal gland and reduces PTSD symptoms.
- Kava root, which is available in the form of capsules, tinctures or tea helps to reduce panic attacks, anxiety and nervous episodes associated with PTSD.
- Stinging nettle is commonly used as a natural remedy for reducing PTSD symptoms.