Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD has become a term that is well recognized by most people, even if they are not personally affected by this disorder or know someone who is. The term PTSD is used to describe the reactions and behaviors of a certain percentage of people who have experienced some form of very disturbing or life threatening event that continues to affect them behaviorally, emotionally and/or psychosocially for a significant amount of time following the actual precipitating traumatic event.
The medical profession has learned a great deal over the years about what types of personal experiences have been known to cause post-traumatic stress disorder, how it presents itself and what kinds of approaches might be potentially effective in treating this disorder. There is also an extensive ongoing medical research effort being directed toward better understanding this disorder, as well as numerous PTSD clinical trials currently being conducted to evaluate potentially more effective medications to help people with this disorder to better cope with their lives and the day-to-day challenges life brings.
It is important to realize, however, that not everyone who experiences a significant traumatic event will develop PTSD. As such, some people will come through a traumatic event just fine, while others will not.
It is also important to recognize that PTSD does not only affect the survivor of a traumatic event. It can and often times also has a significant effect on the people they interact with, such as spouses, children, family members, friends and their performance at work. This is another reason why it is so important to recognize the symptoms of PTSD and seek treatment before there is damage in these areas.
To this end, the main approaches to the treatment of PTSD at this time generally focus on some form of talk therapy or counseling (e.g., behavioral cognitive therapy, stress management, group therapy, assertiveness training) alone or in combination with medications to help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. The first step is to recognize that, whatever it is that you have experienced, it has changed you in certain important ways that are having a negative impact on you and those around you. There is no reason to go it alone. If you suffer from PTSD, it is important to take steps that could ultimately allow you to recover and once again lead a fulfilling and productive life.