Knowing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Knowing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Commonly referred to as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological response to severe or repeated trauma such as physical abuse, one time or prolonged sexual abuse, war, violence, or an intensely upsetting personal experience, such as watching a train wreck or a plane crash or surviving a natural disaster.


Intensely frightening experiences such as these can cause the brain to dissociate, which is a temporary suspension of reality. This is very common for even minor upsets often experienced as a moment in which time seems to slow down or someone watches themselves to through the motions, feeling disconnected to time and place. When this occurs frequently due to repeated experiences with violence, people develop the habit of being in a dissociative state. When this persists, it is called dissociative identity disorder.


PTSD is common after a severe car wreck, as people struggle to find their emotional and cognitive balance after a traumatic loss or a frightening experience. Most of the symptoms of PTSD are psychological or emotional. These include:


  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion and intrusive thoughts
  • Loss of concentration
  • Ongoing fear or paranoia
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Survivor’s guilt


In addition, there are behavioral manifestations of PTSD. These include:


  • Isolation
  • Turning to alcohol or drugs
  • Sexual dysfunction or low sex drive
  • Withdrawal or avoidance
  • Sabotaging personal relationships while blaming a lack of trust


And there are physiological reactions to PTSD. These include:


  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Nightmares
  • A tendency to replay the trauma in your mind


From a medical point of view, there are two types of PTSD. One is simple PTSD, which is the name given to PTSD patients after they’ve experienced a one-time traumatic event. The second type is called complex PTSD. This term is used to describe persons who have endured repeated trauma, as might occur in the event of war or repeated personal experiences with violence or sexual abuse.




Needless to say, PTSD can be a serious life-altering condition and it has been known to last for a lifetime if the conditions of trauma were severe enough. PTSD from one-time events, such as a car accident, has a greater expectation for full or partial recovery.


Treatment options include pharmacological options and psychotherapy options. In addition, alternative methods of finding ways to relax can be extremely helpful. These options include massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation, and physical exertion – such as jogging, swimming, or working out. Music and art therapy can also be helpful in relearning how to relax and regain focus or composure.


There are many styles of talk therapy that are useful for PTSD. These include cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, and group therapy. These options often overlap, but the critical aspect of talk therapy is that the therapist and the patient both buy into the technique they are using. Each of these styles works, but if you don’t believe in the technique, you will remain resistant to it, which can slow down success.




Of course, the critical starting point for recovery is a proper diagnosis. The professional medical staff at Colorado Accident and Injury is extremely helpful in this pursuit. They have experience recognizing symptoms of PTSD soon after an accident and can guide you to their services and make proper referrals when needed.




For Help In Colorado Springs


Medical pain management clinic specializing in care for auto accident patients. Call 719-917-1000.

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