PTSD effects. Be aware!

Post-traumatic stress disorder doesn’t go away on its own. To get rid of this condition one should seek help from professionals (psychiatrists and psychotherapists) or engage in serious self-help (more on it later in the end of this article), otherwise the disease becomes chronic and people simply lose the ability to live a healthy and productive life.

Psychological and physiological PTSD effects

PTSD is a serious factor, which provokes a variety of mental disorders, ranging from depression to the paranoid state. This is because the stress, experienced by the person after the traumatic situation does not disappear, but becomes a permanent “companion” of the patient. And this huge mental load in particular is the cause of mental illness development and emergence of psychosomatic symptoms.

There are two types of responses to the effects of trauma: remaining stuck in the traumatic situation, suffering from obsessive thoughts, dreams and memories; or avoiding of all that somehow remind of the traumatic experience.

Both types of responses do not give the opportunity for the patient to overcome, estimate and assimilate the traumatic experience, while without this reevaluation it is impossible to live a fulfilling life.

Being in a constant stress leads to depression, alcohol and drug addiction, high levels of aggression, directed both toward oneself and the world around. Physiological reactivity of the organism changes as well. The patient cannot adequately accept and evaluate the outside world, any sharp sound or unexpected movement of the interlocutor makes him shudder, feel fear or desire to protect oneself.

As it often happens, the use of psychoactive substances and alcohol helps the patients cope with depression and stress to some extent. On the other hand, all these drugs only worsen the situation and increase the vulnerability of the organism. Moreover, these patients develop characteristic for PTSD neurobiological changes, which increase their susceptibility to chemical agents, therefore they become dependent on these substances much faster than other people.

The transfer into daily life of the behavioral patterns, which were natural in the traumatic situation, causes paranoid behavior. The patient develops the specific view of life, which consists only of threats and dangers and gradually loses the ability to properly react to ordinary daily events.

Social consequences of PTSD

The psychological state of PTSD patients contributes to their alienation from society. On the one hand the patient thinks that no one can fully understand his feelings, on the other hand, he perceives the world as a permanent potential threat.

Being in a constant state of alertness along with the nervous system over-excitement, fear and depression causes adaptation difficulties, interfere with acquisition and assimilating of information or gaining new experience, reduce the cognitive function and new learning ability. The range of vital interests gets narrowed and a person becomes lethargic, apathetic and simply falls out of reality.

Consider that in order to help the patient assimilate the psychological trauma, cope with the PTSD effects and go back to normal life one needs a qualified professional – psychiatrist or psychotherapist. And the sooner this person seeks professional help, the less chance for the development of most negative PTSD effects will be.

References: Wikipedia on PTSD