Helping Keep The Stress Under Control
PTSD stands for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” and typically affects people who have experienced a traumatic event at some point in their lives. PTSD can affect anyone of any age and instigate to varying degrees, depending on the person and the event.
PTSD can have a significant impact on a patient's daily life. In the majority of cases, symptoms begin to crop up around one month after the source of trauma. However, it is not unheard of for PTSD patients to experience a delay in the symptoms.
Many people suffering from PTSD may experience fluctuations in symptoms, where symptoms become more or less noticeable. Symptom fluctuations tend to occur years after diagnosis, however, this is dependent on the patient’s circumstances.
Some of the most common PTSD patients include war veterans, victims of abuse, assault, kidnappings and harassment and those involved in car crashes.
The primary symptom of PTSD is re-experiencing. Re-experiencing can encompass flashbacks, repetitive images, physical pains that relate to the sensations experienced during the event and nightmares.
Many people that suffer from PTSD also suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem and may question why these events have happened to them. It is common for PTSD victims to feel heightened emotions, such as increased anger and sadness, especially when thinking about their trauma.
People with PTSD often experience what is known as ‘hyperarousal,’ which is often linked to anxiety. Hyperarousal labels the feeling of being on edge or constantly worried. This symptom can also cause insomnia, depression and irritability, as well as increase the risk of suffering from phobias.
PTSD can cause both physical and mental symptoms, which can be debilitating. Here are some uncommon signs of PTSD to be aware of.
1. Digestive Issues
Many studies have demonstrated that gut health is directly linked to psychology. Stress, depression and anxiety can all significantly impact your digestive health, causing bloating, abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation - PTSD is no different.
Muscular aches across your body are common symptoms of PTSD. PTSD often increases your body’s level of prolactin, which can make your body less resistant to pain, making aches not only more common but also more painful than usual.
3. Weight Gain
Cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone’ initiates weight gain during periods of stress. When someone suffers from PTSD symptoms, this hormone is released, provoking sugar cravings and causing the body to store fat around the stomach.
4. Ringing in Ears
Tinnitus, a condition that causes a constant ringing sound in your ears, has been linked to PTSD, due to the brain’s limbic system working overtime.
5. Intrusive Thoughts
Intrusive thoughts make it difficult for PTSD victims to control their thoughts and emotions. These thoughts are often linked to the victim’s trauma but can also correlate to self-esteem issues or anxiety about the future.
6. Susceptibility to Substance Abuse
PTSD can be overwhelming and unbearable, leading many victims to ease symptoms with drugs and alcohol. This increases the risk of addiction and makes the patient dependent on substance abuse for symptom control.
7. Trouble Connecting With Others
PTSD symptoms can have a direct impact on your mood and social skills, which can make it challenging to make new friends and maintain existing connections.
8. Blurry Vision
The limbic and sensory systems are intricately linked to one another, making it possible for PTSD victims to experience sensory symptoms such as vision and hearing loss.
9. Issues Building Muscle
The increased levels of cortisol and other hormones in PTSD victims affect their body’s ability to retain amino acids, which has a direct impact on muscle gain and development.
10. Poor Decision-Making
PTSD victims are often more emotionally-charged than those who do not suffer from the condition. Heightened emotions often make it difficult to think logically and make good decisions.
How to Ease Symptoms of PTSD
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, distracting yourself with enjoyable hobbies and exercising are all common ways to help relieve symptoms of PTSD, particularly during a PTSD episode.
Long-term solutions predominantly involve communicating with friends, family and healthcare professionals. Joining support groups and meeting other people suffering from PTSD can also be a reassuring and positive influence.
Although the main symptoms of PTSD may be obvious, numerous mental and physical symptoms are less common but equally as devastating for victims.
If you’re suffering from PTSD, make sure to seek help from doctors and therapists, and build a good support system for yourself.