Monday, 14 May 2012

PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder- triggered by a traumatic experience.  It could be - an interpersonal event like physical or sexual assault, exposure to disaster, accidents, combat or witnessing a traumatic event. It can occur at any age following the traumatic experience. To be diagnosed with PTSD: the symptoms must be present for more than 30 days.

PTSD Symptoms can be classified into 3 different categories:

1."Reliving" the event, this affects daily activity

·         Flashback episodes: where the event seems to be happening again and again
·         Repeated memories of the event which upsets the patient
·         Repeated nightmares
·         Uncomfortable reactions to situations that reminds of the event

2. Avoidance (Hypo-Arousal)

·         "Numbing: feeling nothing" or feeling as though you don't care about anything
·         Feeling totally detached “I don’t really care”
·         Does not remember or unable to recall - important aspects of the trauma
·         No interest in normal activities
·         Appears distant and does not display emotions / mood
·         Deliberately avoids places, people, or thoughts that remind of the event
·         No hopes for future

3. Arousal (Hyper-Arousal)

·         Difficulty concentrating
·         Easily Startled
·         An exaggerated response to things that surprise you
·         Hypervigilance: Feeling more aware
·         Irritability or angry outbursts
·         Sleep becomes affected: having trouble falling or staying asleep
Even though traumatic events can cause distress, not all feelings of distress are symptoms of PTSD. Talk to your friends and relatives about your feelings. If your symptoms do not improve soon or are making you very upset, or you are suffering from irritability, repeated upsetting thoughts, and problems with sleep contact your Doctor. There is proven treatment for PTSD, & your doctor will be able to help.

Dr. Kamali. R. SampathKumar., M.B.B.S. (KMC, Mangalore), Dip. In ADTP (Canada) is a Consultant in Behavioural Disorders specializing in Concurrent Disorders at Kauvery Hospital Chennai. She can be contacted at 730588705 / 9952001587.  Email:


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