Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is triggered by a traumatic and terrifying event. This event can significantly impact an individual’s mental health. The individual may have personally experienced the traumatic event or just witnessed it. To find an effective PTSD treatment center in Los Angeles, contact Silicon Beach Treatment Center today at 213.460.1706.
What Is PTSD?
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, a traumatic event includes specific parameters, including death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Trauma can affect people in one or more of the following ways:
- Having the experience happen to you
- Being in the presence of the traumatic event while it is happening to someone else
- Learning that the traumatic event has happened to a family member or a close friend
- Repeated exposure to details or evidence of the traumatic event that has happened to someone else
For most people, a traumatic event causes an individual to have temporary symptoms that cause the individual to have problems coping and adjusting. Eventually, those symptoms improve. When the symptoms get worse, or last for months or years, and continue to interfere with an individual’s everyday life, then the individual has post-traumatic stress disorder.
What Are Signs and Symptoms of Clinical PTSD?
Symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder can start as soon as 30 days after the trauma occurs. However, it may take years for the symptoms to appear. Each individual has a different type of response to the trauma. These symptoms significantly impair an individual’s ability to handle everyday life and interact with people in social situations.
There are four categories of symptoms of PTSD. They are avoidance, intrusive memories, changes in physical and emotional reactions, and negative changes in thinking and mood. The symptoms and their intensity change and vary over time and are different for each individual.
You may experience intrusion symptoms related to the traumatic event commencing after the traumatic event has occurred. These symptoms last for at least one month in one or more of the following ways:
- Repetitive disturbing memories of the traumatic event
- Repetitive disturbing dreams reminiscent of or related to the traumatic event
- The traumatic response of dissociation, which can feel like a part of you is no longer experiencing the present moment but back in the moment of the traumatic event
- Feelings of disturbance or distress in relation to internal or external stimuli that in some way represent or remind you of the traumatic event
- A negative somatic response, as in, the experience of physiological distress in response to internal or external stimuli that in some way represent or remind you of the traumatic event
Avoidance means purposefully avoiding stimuli that in some way represents or reminds you of the traumatic event, lasting for at least a month in one or both of the following ways:
- Making an effort to stop internal memories, thoughts, or feelings in relation to the traumatic event
- Making an effort to avoid people, places, situations, or other external stimuli that are reminiscent of or in some way remind you of the traumatic event
Mood and Thoughts
Negative moods and thoughts can last for at least a month, negatively impacting you in two or more of the following ways:
- Newly internalized negative globalizing beliefs about oneself, others, or the world at large in response to the traumatic event
- Newly internalized rationale for the traumatic event that falsely assigns blame to the self
- The presence of a consistently negative internal emotional state, as in, persistent feelings of anger, shame, or guilt
- A withdrawal from participation in otherwise or historically important events and activities
- A withdrawal or felt sense of detachment from others
- The loss of ability to feel joy or positivity in historically pleasant situations
Arousal and Reactivity
Significant changes in the individual’s behavior in ways that are specifically linked to and can be correlated as reactionary to the traumatic event. These symptoms can last for at least a month and illustrate by two or more of the following symptoms:
- Physical or verbally aggressive, irritable, or angry behavior and outbursts that erupt seemingly out of nowhere
- Incautious, self-harming actions
- Hypervigilance, that is, the state of being on high alert for pending or potential danger or threat
- The symptoms, reactions, and impact of the traumatic event negatively impact the individual’s ability to function in the areas of social, occupational, or educational areas of life.
- The symptoms, reactions, and impact of the traumatic event cannot be attributed to substance use, prescribed medication, or another medical condition.