Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is described as a “chronic psychological disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event.” It is one of the most common mental health disorders experienced by both men and women of all ages. Studies show that there is usually a spike in PTSD cases in the Philippines whenever there are natural calamities like the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 and when Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the country in 2013. Another known risk factor for PTSD in the country are those who are working for the military who are usually exposed to traumatic events during deployment. Although modern science has paved the way for recovering from PTSD, a number of sociocultural factors still hinder most people from seeking help.
PTSD can develop after an unpleasant experience that can cause you to have recurring feelings of distress. Examples of some of the causes of PTSD include:
- Direct exposure to a potentially traumatic incident like serious injury, sexual violence, threatened death
- Repeated exposure to traumatic events that come with your current occupation (military, healthcare)
- Knowledge of similar incidents mentioned that happened to a family member or close friend
Most people are exposed to traumatic events throughout their lifetimes and symptoms of trauma usually go away after some time. Some common signs of PTSD include:
- Recurring flashbacks of traumatic memories
- Repeated nightmares
- Persistent feelings of shame and guilt
- Avoidance behavior (avoiding people/thoughts/incidents that can be connected to the traumatic event)
- Sudden changes in mood, often involving negative thoughts and beliefs
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating on tasks
Patients who show symptoms of PTSD should consult a doctor for a complete diagnosis of their condition. An initial screening will be done to determine the gravity of your condition. After the first set of tests your doctor may prescribe additional tests like diagnostic interviews, questionnaires, and other assessment tools that are essential in treatment planning.
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