Definition of PTSD.

The diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appeared for the first time in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, although the phenomenon of the disease has been described in the late 19th century by H. Oppenheim, who called it a “traumatic neurosis”.

Definition of PTSD may be a tricky subject, even though it seem to be clearly established by professionals. PTSD occurs in result of exposure to the traumatic external situations, which lie beyond the ordinary experience and pose a threat to a person or other people. These events, regarded as traumatic, may have a negative effect on any person, without exception. Thus a disruptive reaction is pretty normal, and its duration depends on the severity of trauma and stress. If the stressor was insignificant, the signs of anxiety and other PTSD symptoms usually disappear within several days / weeks. If the traumatic event caused very intense feelings or was frequently repeated, the response reactions may persist for several months or years.

However, the traumatic situation does not have to be extraordinary for the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, the only thing that matters is personal attitude. Depending on circumstances, any situation can be regarded as a serious psychological trauma for the individual, for example, different acts of aggression (infliction of bodily injury or assault, rape and so on.).

PTSD is defined as a delayed in time and prolonged reaction, which manifests itself a few months after the onset of the traumatic event. It also has a latent (hidden) period, which lasts at least one month and brings suffering or discomfort to a person, reducing one’s performance potential.

According to the statistics, the young and elderly people find it more difficult to cope with traumatic events than the middle-aged people. About eighty percent of children, who suffered burns, had experienced a PTSD after 1-2 years, while the same statistics for the middle-aged adults is 30%.

Symptoms of PTSD:

  • persistent feeling of alienation;
  • anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure);
  • hyper-excitement;
  • intrusive memories of the traumatic event;
  • fear and desire to avoid anything that might remind of the psychological trauma;
  • insomnia;
  • anxiety, depressive symptomatology, outbreaks of anger.

Types of post-traumatic stress disorder (ICD 10):

  1. Anxious type – manifests itself through frequent episodes of anxiety and agitation;
  2. Asthenic type – manifests itself through the pronounced lethargy, weakness and apathy;
  3. Dysphoric type – is characterized by irritability and aggression;
  4. Somatoform type – manifests itself through the somatic pain.

Before the diagnosis and treatment of this condition, it should be considered that PTSD is often accompanied by panic disorder, depression or generalized anxiety disorder.

The best option for the PTSD patients would be a comprehensive treatment, combining the methods of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation measures.

Psychotherapy should be the main method of treatment. The main task of the therapist is to develop the specific personal resources, which may help a person to regain one’s previous state of health.

Thus, early diagnosis and initiation of treatment – is an effective way to cope with PTSD. Comprehensive treatment and qualified health care is the main source of the mental health in those people, who have experienced the extreme traumatic events.