Individuals that have beenexposed to life-threatening, extremely frightening and otherwise unsafesituations tend to develop an emotional illness known as post-traumatic stressdisorder (PTSD). Such persons tend to avoid anything that might remind them ofthe unpleasant experience, including the people and the places, since theyrelive the trauma when their memories are aroused. As a result of long-termexposure to trauma or series of traumatic events, a person may develop complexpost-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) which leads to problems in emotionaland social functioning. Statistics show thatwomen are much more prone to developing PTSD than men. An amazing fact, asproved by the increased number of PTSD cases after the 2001 terrorist attacks,is that traumatic stress can result in PTSD even if the person was notphysically present during traumatic happenings. Children and teens exposed totraumatic events, such as violence, sexual assaults and abuse, or witnessing aparent being killed are highly likely to develop PTSD.
PTSD is usually treatedby psychotherapy and medications. Education about the PTSD is providedto overcome the misconceptions, feelings of shame, isolation and stigmatizationthat are associated with PTSD. People with PTSD are presented with the practical ways tocope with intense and disturbing symptoms and are taught techniques such asstress management, communication skills, relaxation techniques and others tohelp achieve control over emotional and physical symptoms. Individual and groupcognitive therapy is also available to PTSD sufferers. Family members aresometimes involved in therapy through family counseling, parenting classes andconflict-resolution coaching, because families have a significant role indisclosing the information relevant to the treatment, which the PSTD sufferersometimes refuses to reveal.
PTSD is usuallyaccompanied by sleeping problems so learning how to deal with nightmaresthrough imagery rehearsal therapy and other techniques already mentioned canhelp decrease the symptoms of PTSD. Medications used include antidepressantssuch as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, and medicines used to decrease physicalsymptoms of the illness, such as Catapres, Tenex, and propranol. Antidepressanttreatment is recommended to last for at least a year since people with PTSDtend to go into a relapse. The antidepressants above have been found todecrease fear, anxiety, panic and depression, as well as aggression andimpulsivity and even suicidal thoughts. These have been approved by the U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by PTSD sufferers. Tranquilizerssuch as Valium and Xanax are not recommended since they have been found to beara risk of overdose and withdrawal symptoms.