How to Recognize Symptoms and Help Someone with PTSD

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as much as eight percent of the population will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives. Veterans Affairs (the “VA”) also notes that about 5.2 million U.S. adults suffer from PTSD during any given year. Considering the prevalence of this condition, it is important for friends and family to become familiar with PTSD symptoms in order to ensure their loved ones are treated with the best medical care.

PTSD symptoms may develop within three months of a traumatic event, but sometimes can be delayed until years afterward. The Mayo Clinic notes on its website the following four general groups of symptoms to look for in PTSD sufferers.

  • Negative changes in thinking and mood. Symptoms can include negative feelings about oneself or other people, inability to experience positive emotions, and feeling emotionally numb. Additionally, the individual may exhibit a lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, memory problems, and difficulty maintaining close relationships.
  • Changes in emotional reactions. Also called arousal symptoms, these may include irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior; always being on guard for danger; and overwhelming guilt or shame. Further symptoms can include trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping and being easily startled or frightened.
  • Intrusive memories. These may include recurrent, unwanted, distressing memories of the traumatic event, reliving the event via flashbacks, and upsetting dreams or nightmares about it. It can also involve severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds the individual of the event.
  • Avoidance. Symptoms of avoidance may include trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event, as well as avoiding places, activities or people that remind the individual of the traumatic event.

The Mayo Clinic advises that individuals should talk to their healthcare professional if they are experiencing disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month and especially if those thoughts and feelings are severe.  Help should also be sought if the person is having trouble getting their life back under control.

Those who have served in the military and think they may be affected by PTSD should also consider speaking to their doctor about the AtEase Study, a clinical research study which is evaluating the possible therapeutic benefits of an investigational medicine in PTSD. AtEaseStudy.com presents an opportunity for interested individuals to see if they pre-qualify to volunteer for the study, which is open to veterans or those currently serving in law enforcement, the Armed Forces or as a military contractor.

Those serving in the Department of Homeland Security, Secret Service and Border Patrol are also eligible for this research study. Currently there are no satisfactory medication treatments for PTSD; this investigational medicine represents a new approach to treat the condition. Symptoms of PTSD may improve while taking part in this study. However, there is no guarantee of this. Participation in the study will provide information about the study drug that might benefit others in the future.

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