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8 Signs of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- From Hoffman Estates and Cary, IL

Mar 1, 2008
All people experience stressful events which can affect them emotionally and physically. Our reactions to stress are usually brief, and most of us recover without any further problems. However, if you have experienced a catastrophic event, you may find that you have developed signs of ongoing problems, known as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In PTSD, the stressful or traumatic event may have involved a situation where your life may have been threatened, severe injury had occurred or you may have been the victim of or a witness to physical abuse, sexual abuse or a particularly violent act. Or, you may have been involved in a life-threatening automobile accident or natural disaster or perhaps you were diagnosed with a life threatening illness.

Your risk of developing PTSD is related to the traumas seriousness, whether it has been repeated and your proximity to it. You may initially show agitated, anxious or confused behavior. You also may have experienced intense fear, feelings of helplessness, anger, sadness, or revulsion, horror or denial.

If you have experienced repeated trauma, you may have developed a sense of emotional numbing which serves to deaden or block the pain of the trauma. This is called dissociation and you may find yourself avoiding situations or places that remind you of it.

You may also have become less responsive emotionally, depressed, withdrawn or more detached from your feelings. It is also possible that you could emotionally re-experience the traumatic event by:

Having frequent memories of it or dreams in which some, or the entire trauma is repeated over and over,

Having upsetting and frightening thoughts that will not go away,

When reminded of the event, you may experience the same physical or emotional symptoms.

If afflicted with PTSD you may also show the following:

Anxiety about dying at an early age,

A loss of interest in activities,

Physical symptoms, such as headaches or backaches,

The displaying of emotional reactions that are more sudden and extreme,

Problems falling or staying asleep,

Irritability or angry outbursts,

Problems concentrating or focusing,

Signs of hyper vigilance meant to prevent the occurrence of other dangerous events,

Or, the repeating of behaviors that reminds you of the trauma.

Symptoms of PTSD may last from several months to many years. The best approach is prevention of the trauma. However, once it has occurred, early intervention is essential.

Support from family is important and emphasis needs to be placed upon establishing feelings of safety. Psychotherapy (individual, group, or family) which allows you to speak or write about the trauma is helpful.

Behavior modification techniques and cognitive therapy may help reduce your fears and anxieties. Medication may also be useful to deal with any agitation, anxiety, or depression you may experience.

Clinical psychologists can be very helpful in diagnosing and treating PTSD. With the sensitivity and support of families and professionals, you can learn to cope with the memories of the trauma and go on to lead a normal life.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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