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- PTSD Facts and Statistics
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PTSD persists long after the event and is characterized by the intensity of the feelings, how long they last, how you react to these feelings, and the presence of particular symptoms. Symptoms of PTSD usually develop within the first 3 months after the event, but they may not surface until months or even years after the original traumatic event. Symptoms may include:. Experts are not entirely sure what causes some people to develop PTSD, but many think it happens when you are confronted with a traumatic event, and your mind is not able to process all the thoughts and feelings as it usually does.
Scientists studying the brain think there may be some differences in the brain structure or chemistry of those with PTSD.
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For example, certain areas of the brain involved with feeling fear may be hyperactive in people with PTSD. Other researchers have focused on the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory and for how we deal with stress, and are investigating whether changes in that area also appear in people with PTSD.
How severe the traumatic event was and how long it lasted affect whether you are likely to develop PTSD. These factors also increase the risk:. There are no laboratory tests to detect PTSD. In fact, PTSD is not diagnosed until at least 1 month has passed since the trauma. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and ask you to describe the traumatic event.
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Your doctor will likely also use psychological assessment tools to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as a psychologist or psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment. Early intervention immediately after a traumatic event, through support groups, psychotherapy, and certain medications, may help prevent PTSD. Rituals, such as prayer or healing ceremonies, may be helpful in relieving stress and other effects of the trauma.
However, with instruction by licensed professionals, several mind-body techniques may be used as supportive treatments:. Although no studies have examined how nutrition can be used to treat PTSD, these general nutritional guidelines may be helpful:. Mix liquid extracts with favorite beverage. Herbs should be used only under the guidance of your physician and you should keep all of your doctors and therapists informed about any herbal or CAM therapies you are using.
Some herbal remedies can interfere with medications. Few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies.
PTSD Facts and Statistics
Professional homeopaths, however, may recommend one or more of the following treatments for PTSD based on their knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type, includes your physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. When being treated with homeopathic remedies, it is possible to experience a brief intensification of symptoms before your condition improves. In the case of PTSD, it is important to have a qualified support team in place to help you handle any worsening of symptoms.
An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual. Acupuncture may help with symptoms of PTSD, including insomnia, anxiety, and depression. In one case involving a Vietnam War veteran, acupuncture and relaxation with guided imagery reportedly reduced insomnia, nightmares, and panic attacks over a treatment period of 12 weeks.
One study for anxiety not PTSD-related found that benefits lasted as long as 1 year after treatment. Acupuncturists treat people based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians in the body. If PTSD symptoms continue for longer than 3 months, the condition is considered to be chronic ongoing.
Chronic PTSD may become less severe even if it is not treated, or it may become severely disabling, interfering with many areas of life and causing physical complaints. Some research suggests that PTSD may be related to physical disorders, such as arthritis, but few studies have examined the relationship between PTSD and physical health. Genetic approaches to understanding post-traumatic stress disorder. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy.
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J Nerv Ment Dis. Disrupted rapid eye movement sleep predicts poor declarative memory performance in post-traumatic stress disorder. J Sleep Res. The link between post-traumatic stress disorder and physical comorbidities: a systematic review. Psychiatr Q. Ann N Y Acad Sci. Post-traumatic stress disorder moderates the relation between documented childhood victimization and pain 30 years later.
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Reviewed By: Steven D. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.