Post-traumatic stress disorder is a phenomenon that causes some of the most damaging forms of psychopathology, which is why psychologists stress the need to treat these complications as quickly as possible, when symptoms are associated with them.
However … How is post-traumatic stress overcome? We’ll cover this and other related issues throughout this article.
What is post-traumatic stress
The concept of post-traumatic stress refers to the main component of a psychopathological disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This phenomenon, which is often described in diagnostic manuals under the category “Trauma-related disorders and stressors”, encompasses a number of stress-related symptoms related to psychological trauma, and which may persist (usually appearing in everyday life). of the person). daily life) for years or decades.
Post-traumatic stress results from the after-effects left by the person during a traumatic event; the latter is usually an event in which the person witnesses or suffers from something extremely catastrophic or hurtful, either psychologically or physically.
For example, a car accident, a case of sexual abuse, an assault in the context of bullying, The unexpected death of a loved one, etc. However, it should not be forgotten that having any of these experiences does not imply developing post-traumatic stress; in fact, these cases are in the minority.
On the other hand, another characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder is that it does not necessarily occur within minutes of the traumatic experience.
The main symptoms that characterize post-traumatic stress are as follows, although not all of them need to be present in the person.
Flashbacks are experiences in which memories linked to the traumatic event are “rekindled” as if they were part of the present, so that the consciousness of the person is focused on that part of the memory, including also the emotional load (aversive and stressful) of this lived experience in the past.
On the other hand, the person cannot prevent the appearance of these mental “strokes of genius”, nor cause them to stop as they please. They usually last a few seconds.
2. Dissociative symptoms
Beyond flashbacks, there are other psychotic symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. The most common are depersonalization and unrealization, Where the person experiences their body or the environment they are in as if it was something they were emotionally disconnected from: as if they were being decorated in a play.
3. Sleep problems and nightmares
Sleep disturbances are also a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. These bedtime complications can manifest as problems trying to fall asleep, nightmares, And / or difficulty maintaining deep and constant sleep.
4. Mood disorders
The person suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder goes through many situations in which his mood is altered by the influence of stress. He is irritable and easily suffers from anger.
5. Tendency to avoid
People with post-traumatic stress take time to avoid places and contexts in which they feel like they are going through a crisis.
How is post-traumatic stress treated?
As we have seen, post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological disorder that has a lot of potential to affect the quality of people’s lives. Fortunately, it can be treated; in this sense, it is recommended to have psychological and medical assistance.
Here we will focus on what is made for overcome post-traumatic stress from a psychological point of view, i.e. intervention through psychotherapy.
1. Controlled exposure or systematic desensitization
These two procedures are widely used to promote loss of sensitivity to remembering mental content produces stress. During the therapy sessions, the psychologists created a context in which the patient learns to cope with these anxious experiences and adapts to them gradually, rather than trying to avoid them anyway.
2. Cognitive restructuring
Through cognitive restructuring, psychologists encourage the patient to detect beliefs that they have clung to that are in fact not only unrealistic, but also reinforce post-traumatic stress.
3. Establishing new habits
Psychologists help the person to develop habits that are not based on avoidance and let him get back to normal as soon as possible.
Are you looking for treatment for PTSD?
If you think you have post traumatic stress disorder and are looking for professional help, please contact me. In my psychology center, I can offer you the tools you need to overcome this disorder, based on over 15 years of experience in treating patients. To see more information about my services or my contact details, go to this page.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Atwoli L., and. the. (April 2017). Post-traumatic stress disorder associated with the unexpected death of a loved one: international findings from global mental health surveys. Depression and anxiety. 34 (4): pages 315 to 326.
- Azcárate Mengual, MA (2007). Post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury. Madrid: Díaz de Santos.
- Mason, F., Lodrick, Z. (2013). Psychological consequences of sexual assault. Good practices and research. Clinical obstetrics and gynecology. 27 (1): pages 27 to 37.
- World Health Organization (1992). International Classification of Diseases and Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Geneva, Switzerland.