Long Term Affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When people experience or witness a traumatic event, and are unable to let go or move on, they are putting themselves at risk to developing Post Traumatic Disorder (PTSD). In brief, PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that results from traumatic experiences, which is sometimes relived by the patient though flashbacks and nightmares.  It can also be when triggered by certain situations e.g. a soldier fresh from the war may remember the gunfights and bombings when they hear loud banging doors.

Causes of Post Traumatic Disorder

Trauma and an individual’s inability move on from it, is the common cause of PTSD. Traumatic experiences often involve life-threatening situations or events that cause intense fear in the individual such as the following:

 

  • Extremely severe accidents like car crash, plane crash, etc.
  • Frightening natural phenomena like hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, etc.
  • Being a victim of torture or other crimes
  • Exposure to war and conflict
  • Physical, mental, and emotional abuse

Loss and grief is the second cause of PTSD. When an individual grieves over the loss of someone or something they can consider to be very important, it can cause a flood or rush of emotions.  This often causes strain and stress on the individual and if not dealt with in the right way can lead to long term affects.  The following situations, particularly when unexpected and sudden, can put a serious amount stress to the individual which can result in PTSD:

 

  • Death of a family member, a friend, or any one they love and consider important
  • Divorce or end of a relationship
  • Being fired from a job that they are passionate about
  • Loss of a dear pet

The Long-term Effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a disorder that one cannot afford to ignore because of its serious implications on an individual’s mental, physical and emotional well-being.

 

Mental and psychological problems like anxiety disorders and depression brought about by PTSD can lead to various inappropriate behaviours like overeating, alcohol and drug abuse and more. There are even studies which report that PTSD and its effects can lead an individual to contemplate suicide. PTSD is even known to affect an individual’s focus and cause sleep problems. All these can further lead to the development of physical health problems.

 

Physical health problems and diseases experienced by a patient suffering from PSTD are often the result of their negative behaviour. Obesity and diabetes among PTSD patients, for example, is largely associated with unhealthy eating habits, while respiratory problems are due to excessive smoking – all of which can lead to weak immune systems thus making the patient prone to other diseases. PTSD is also linked to heart problems, according to this article from Medical News Today.

 

Furthermore PTSD is also known to affect the individual’s ability to create and maintain fulfilling and lasting relationships with the people around them. They have problems working with their colleagues or dealing with their bosses, and become less productive and efficient in the workplace. In romantic relationships, PTSD can lead to loss of intimacy and causes the individual to be irritable which usually instigates arguments.

 

When left untreated, PTSD can lead to devastating results that can negatively affect an individual’s life both personally, socially and at work. Therefore it is very important that anyone who is suffering from this disorder be treated immediately, whether through doctor prescribed medications or counselling in order to help them better cope with PTSD so they can live a normal and happy life.