Anxiety and PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress is usually defined as a set of reactions:
- Traumatic events are constantly re-experienced again and again:
- repetitive intrusive memories of the traumatic event;
- recurring nightmares about the traumatic event;
- actions or feelings, corresponding to the traumatic experience;
- intense negative feelings, when confronted with something that reminds of the traumatic event.
- Persistent avoidance of anything that may be associated with the trauma.
- Inability to recall the important episodes of the traumatic event.
- Sharply decreased interest in previously valued activities, narrowed area of interest.
- A feeling of detachment and estrangement from others, a sense of loneliness.
- Dulled emotions, lack of empathy.
- A sense of forshortened future.
- A person usually does not even notice the experiencing feelings of fear, but at the physical level the followingsymptoms of anxiety and fearsuppressionmay occur:
- psychosomatic symptoms (headaches and dizziness, exacerbation of cardiovascular diseases, heart rhythm disorders, digestive disorders, skin condition, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, trembling hands, etc.);
- trouble sleeping;
- irritability, neurotic behavior, outbursts of anger;
- impaired memory and concentration, uncertainty of success, intellectual uncertainty, a sense of inner tension, performance decrement;
- hypervigilance, exaggerated response;
Quite often, the patients do not associate the physical health problems and exacerbation of chronic diseases with the stressful experiences and do not seek help.
Anxiety, fear and dread usually become the dominant feelings after the trauma. These feelings include the emotional discomfort, associated with nervous expectation and a sense of uncertainty. Anxiety – is a central element of the mechanism of mental stress development. It serves as a signal or warning about the possible troubles and danger and is defined as a sense of uncertain threat or diffuse sense of fear. Anxiety predisposes to most of the disorders, arising from stress. Anxiety manifestations include the following phenomena (in order of increasing severity):
- a sense of inner tension;
- signs of hyperesthesia (generating anxiety, increased irritability);
- actual anxiety (i.e., a feeling of uncertain threat);
- fear (a feeling of specific threat);
- a sense of inevitable disaster;
- agitation (panic).
These conditions alternate with each other due to the increasing severity of anxiety symptoms. Motivational function of anxiety as a signal of ill-being and danger lies in the activated psychic mechanisms of human adaptation to different situations. In this sense, to assess the level of human adaptation to the rapidly changing conditions and its adaptability one need to determine the level of trait anxiety and general susceptibility to fear (for life, family, career, etc.).
Nowadays the possibilities of modern psychotherapy can effectively and efficiently free away a patient from the effects of post-traumatic stress and anxiety. The main thing is the desire of the person to work on one’s problems and understanding of the situation by the family members of the patient. It is also very important to find a good therapist. A real professional can prevent the patient from experiencing the negative feelings at the first session.