We first started hearing about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with our active duty military and veterans as a result of the trauma suffered by them in combat. Many of us do not really understand this condition, or why it is so debilitating. If we have a loved one suffering from this disorder, all we know is that they are often irritable and disagree most of the time.
What we do know about PTSD, is that it is a mental health condition that develops in what was once a healthy mind that has been subjected to terrifying events either by experiencing these events first hand, or by being present when the terrifying event is happening to others. As a result, these events, in horrific detail, may be re-lived by the individual through flashbacks or nightmares, causing anxiety or worse. If the symptoms increase in intensity or last for several months or years, PTSD will be the most probable diagnosis.
Aside from war related conditions and injuries, individuals may develop PTSD from other life threatening experiences, including auto accidents, or the criminal acts of others. Physicians are unable to determine what makes one person more susceptible to PTSD over another; there are too many factors that come into play. Likewise, the treatment of PTSD patients will not be the same in all cases.
PTSD symptoms can be classified as four different types, which are (1) intrusive memories relating to the traumatic event, by reliving the event through nightmares or memories being triggered by the senses, either by a certain song, a noise or smells; (2) avoidance, shying away from friends and family, becoming distant; (3) mood swings from hot to cold at a moment’s notice for what may appear to be no reason; and (4) uneven emotional reactions to simple events, for example: while watching a movie, the sound of gunfire in the movie, or a car backfire may place the PTSD victim back onto the battlefield, fighting for his life.
Treatment and Cure
The standard treatment for most mental health problems is psychotherapy and medication. Right now, these treatments are the only ones available for patients suffering from PTSD. There is no cure. Very little is known about how the brain works, so the standard treatment is all that is available, and hopefully with the combination of therapy and medication, an individually suffering from PTSD will be able to live a relatively normal life.
Effect on Family Relationships
Family members of a PTSD patient are also victims of this brain disorder. Having their loved ones lash out and have emotional episodes over what seems to be normal everyday life experiences is a very difficult thing, not only to understand, but to live with. So you have two victims of PTSD; the sufferer and the sufferer’s family. (See Related Post)
There are resources and information available about PTSD and how to cope with it if you or a family member has been diagnosed with it. See http://www.ptsd.va.gov/
To consult with an experienced brain injury attorney on this issue, or if you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury or a brain trauma due to the actions of another, contact Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation.