Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms may appear right after an event, or even years later. It is natural for people who have survived a trauma to experience anxiety, stress and fear. It is when these feelings become severe, last more than a few weeks and start interrupting your daily functioning that you may have PTSD. PTSD symptoms are grouped into 4 categories: intrusion, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and hyperarousal.

Intrusion – This category includes impacts such as flashbacks, recurrent unwanted memories of the event(s), and nightmares.

Avoidance – This category includes impacts such as trying to avoid thinking or talking about the event, and avoiding reminders of the event.

Negative changes in thinking and mood – This category includes impacts such as negative feelings about yourself and others, feeling emotionally numb, hopelessness, and lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

Hyperarousal – This category includes impacts such as trouble sleeping, being easily startled or frightened, irritability, and always being on guard for danger.

Many different factors impact how you react to a traumatic event. There are some factors that may make you more likely to develop PTSD. They include:

– previous exposure to severe adverse live events or traumas
– a history of other mental health issues (such as depression or anxiety)
– absence of social support
– ineffective or undeveloped coping skills
– level of exposure to the traumatic event

Treatment for PTSD symptoms can help you regain a sense of control in your life. Therapy can involve learning coping skills to deal with the impacts of trauma, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks, recognizing and challenging unhelpful thinking patterns, and creating a new meaning of the traumatic event.

If you think you may suffer from PTSD, contact Hope 24/7 to speak with a professional.

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