Understanding post traumatic stress disorder—when to get help
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop when a person experiences a shocking, scary or dangerous event. These events can include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat and various other forms of violence.
The UK HealthCare Outpatient Child and Adult Psychiatry Clinic has seen an overall increase in anxiety disorders associated primarily with the COVID-19 pandemic, between issues with infection, the strain of lockdown and fears of reintegrating into the world with work and school. Many of the new PTSD cases at UK HealthCare are also associated with first responders and health care workers due to the recent influx of critically ill patients.
Most people experience a range of reactions after a traumatic event, but many recover from the symptoms naturally. The diagnosis of PTSD occurs when the symptoms become chronic.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least one month:
- At least one re-experiencing symptom.
- At least one avoidance symptom.
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms.
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms.
PTSD is an often stigmatized and/or misunderstood mental health issue in which symptoms can occur for months or years after the traumatic event. Raising awareness can help both individuals and professionals discover ways to identify and manage PTSD symptoms.