What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and what are the best ways of treating it ? This exact question is being asked more frequently now, that the growing numbers of war veterans returning home from military service suffering from psychological difficulties is unfortunately increasing every day.
It is however not limited to military personnel and even in civilian life increasing number of children are displaying some worrying symptoms. Medical science is now starting to understand more fully the causes of the condition, and subsequently there are many more types of treatments which are showing real positive results.
There are many common symptoms relating to post traumatic stress disorder, the most common being the re-living of an incident or event which caused the condition to appear. Consistent feelings of anger or sleep disturbance are also common amongst patients suffering from PTSD.
Anyone who has been through a traumatic experience can suffer from these symptoms, but they occur most commonly in those unfortunate people who have been faced with persistent terrifying situations over which they have very little or absolutey no control.
As warfare has become more complex and reliant upon advanced technology the incidences of stress disorders among military personnel have become more common.
Medical professionals have also noted that trauma in children is probably more common nowadays, even though there were many instances in the past the child in question would quite possibly be misdiagnosed and believed to be faking illness. Greater understanding of post traumatic stress disorder is now thankfully leading to this problem less and less
Scientists are still attemptng to figure out exactly what makes the condition appear in some individuals, when it does not appear in others who have faced exactly the same circumstances.
There are clearly some hereditary and genetic factors involved, this can be seen from the fact having a twin in the same military unit who has suffered from PTSD is a significant increased risk factor.
There is no conclusive agreement regarding the chemicals within the body which cause the condition to develop in certain circumstances, as tests have proven inconclusive. For example Cortisol levels, were believed to be of some significance, but some tests have shown decreased levels while others have shown the exact opposite.
People wondering what PTSD is, are often first introduced to the term when hearing about the military and the difficulties of modern warfare. Quite apart from the obvious risks involved in any form of armed conflict, modern warfare seems to cause psychological disturbances on a deeper level for a greater number of people.
There have been many theories put forward to try to explain this, they usually involve the belief that the sounds and emotions engendered by modern warfare are further removed from that which is natural, and that therefore the body reacts to them.
There are numerous incidents of post traumatic stress disorder among young children, especially those who are raised in unusual circumstances. The condition is relatively common in those children who have been living in foster care, even if nothing of any obvious violent nature has occurred.
Incidences are at their highest amongst those children who have been sexually or mentally abused, this is obviously be expected. Those children who have been physically abused in a non-sexual way are also likely to develop the condition, although the percentages of these cases are lower. Those who have not been subjected to violent attacks can still develop the condition due to feelings of psychological abandonment.
There are now objective definitions laid down as to what is PTSD and what is an acute stress disorder. The condition needs to cause a severe impairment of the ability to live normally and in all conditions, and it needs to persevere over a period of thirty or more days.
If that time has not yet elapsed, it classed as an acute disorder which may well develop into PTSD. There are still gray areas caused by uncertainty as to exactly what is meant by severe or by an inability to live and function normally. If there are tasks which cause fear in the patient which would not have done so before, that is a clear indication that PTSD is present.
Treatment of the condition is still at an early stage, but several methods are showing promise. The standard treatments which have been passed by the military authorities are known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and these involve the identification of troublesome thoughts and feelings.
Once these potential triggers for an attack have been identified, they can gradually be replaced with less harmful thoughts and feelings. This needs to be done under controlled conditions, but the treatment does have a proven track record of success.
To find out more about what is PTSD and what can be done to treat it, try a simple online search and follow some of the links. The sites at the top of the rankings are the ones you would expect to find there, and they will give you a lot of helpful background information into how the condition develops.
Once you have read these, you will be able to go deeper into the search and discover the new therapies which are being developed to treat the condition. Some of these involve the deliberate re-living of the trauma under controlled conditions, and you will understand how they work once you know what is PTSD.