Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an oftentimes debilitating condition that affects roughly 3.5% of adults in the US.  If you or someone you know struggles with this psychiatric disability, then you’ve likely experienced or witnessed the devastating effects it can have on day to day life.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, known commonly as PTSD, is a mental health condition that develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or terrifying event.  It is a natural physical response to feeling fear during and/or after a traumatic situation.  Fear triggers the “fight or flight” response within our body that causes many split-second changes to occur in order to help us defend or avoid this immediate threat.  PTSD occurs when an individual experiences the natural “fear” response and is not able to recover from it naturally.     

In reality, PTSD is much more complex than that, and the resulting behaviors can vary widely.  PTSD can affect any individual at any age.  Not every sufferer will experience the same symptoms, and no two triggers are precisely the same.  Furthermore, the condition can change over time so it is essential to get the proper treatment.

How common is PTSD?

As mentioned above, about 3.5% of adults in the US suffer from PTSD.  Experts estimate that between 7-8% of individuals will experience it in their lifetime and that a whopping 8 million people struggle with it each year.  Approximately 10% of women and 4% of men are likely to develop PTSD at some point during their lifetime.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

The symptoms of PTSD are different for everyone, as are the triggers.  An individual may even have unusual, uncharacteristic symptoms specific to their trauma, but most sufferers have at least a few behaviors in common.

Intrusive Thoughts

The most common symptom of PTSD is intrusive thoughts.  That is to say, remembering or reliving their trauma.  Intrusive thoughts can manifest in a variety of ways:

  • Hallucinations - Imagining the event is happening again.
  • Flashbacks - Reliving the traumatic moment.
  • Nightmares - Upsetting dreams that disrupt your sleep.
  • Emotional distress brought on by specific, trauma-related triggers.

Intrusive thoughts are more than just remembering something embarrassing you did in grade school.  They’re obsessive memories that the mind has trouble letting go of.

Avoidance

Those who struggle with PTSD may also go out of their way to avoid discussing their trauma.  They may even avoid places, people, or activities that remind them of what they experienced.  This can be particularly troublesome, as isolation from friends and family often breeds other emotional issues like depression.  Individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder often report losing interest in activities they once enjoyed.

Negative Mood

The symptoms of PTSD tend to cascade.  If left unchecked, intrusive thoughts and isolation begin to proliferate negative feelings and thoughts like:

  • Self-loathing
  • Feeling numb or detached
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Hard to have positive emotions

Physical Reactions

Not only can PTSD cause emotional and psychological issues, but it can also begin to affect a sufferer physically.  Those with PTSD often report having difficulty sleeping, or may overuse or abuse drugs or alcohol to help them cope.

Emotional reactions

Feelings of inadequacy or shame over a sufferer’s particular trauma may begin to manifest if left untreated.  It may also be expressed as irritability or aggression, or even overly timid behavior.

How is PTSD Treated?

Ideally, those who have experienced a traumatic event will seek professional help and treatment to lessen, or even completely alleviate the symptoms.  Treating PTSD can be difficult, and there is no miracle cure.  Therapists may employ techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, or various forms of group or family therapy to help the individual maintain strong bonds and allies during their recovery.  In many cases, doctors may prescribe medication to help combat the depression and anxiety associated with PTSD.

How ketamine infusions can help PTSD

In recent years, ketamine has been used to treat the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.  In the right doses, ketamine is believed to encourage the brain to release glutamate, helping it reconnect, regrow, and reorganize neural pathways.  It has great potential to alleviate symptoms for longer stretches of time and has the benefit of fewer adverse reactions.  At Restoration Infusions, we want to help those struggling with PTSD and other difficult to fight conditions with this breakthrough treatment.