Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterized by persistent symptoms of distress and hyperarousal that are associated with a traumatic event or events. Common symptoms of chronic PTSD include:
- Signs and Symptoms of Chronic PTSD
- Understanding the Emotional Impact of PTSD
- Physical Indicators of Chronic PTSD
- Long-Term Effects of Trauma on Mental Health
- Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Chronic PTSD
- Personal Experiences with Living with Chronic PTSD
- Treatment Options for Managing the Symptoms of Chronic PTSD
1. Intrusive thoughts and memories, often in the form of flashbacks or nightmares; 2. Emotional numbness, detachment from others, and difficulty expressing emotions; 3. Avoidance of reminders of the trauma, including people, places, conversations, activities, objects and situations; 4. Physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive problems; 5. Hypervigilance and feelings of irritability or outbursts of anger; 6. Difficulty sleeping, concentrating or making decisions; 7. Feelings of guilt or shame related to the trauma; 8. Anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic PTSD
People who suffer from chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often experience recurring, intense psychological distress in response to cues that remind them of a traumatic event. Such reminders are called triggers and can range from hearing a certain sound or smell to being reminded of the past through conversations with others. People affected by this disorder may have difficulty functioning normally on a daily basis due to the intrusive memories they experience as a result of their trauma. It is important for those experiencing chronic PTSD to be aware of its signs and symptoms so that they can get the help they need.
Common signs and symptoms of Chronic PTSD include having flashbacks or nightmares, feeling emotionally numb, being easily startled by sudden sounds or movements, avoiding places and activities that might trigger traumatic memories, feelings of guilt or shame related to one’s survival during the traumatic event, depression and anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping or concentrating due to persistent worries about personal safety. Another key symptom is hyperarousal, which involves being constantly on alert and ready to fight back against potential danger even when there isn’t any present. People suffering from chronic PTSD may also act out in dangerous ways such as impulsively engaging in risky behaviors like drug use.
The physical manifestations associated with Chronic PTSD can include headaches, stomachaches, increased blood pressure levels leading to high blood pressure over time if untreated – as well as constant fatigue due to disrupted sleep patterns caused by nightmares and recurrent intrusive thoughts about trauma experienced in the past. Sufferers may also experience cognitive difficulties such as memory lapses & struggles with focus & concentration. Treatment for Chronic PTSD typically includes psychotherapy sessions combined with medication if needed; both approaches are beneficial when it comes helping those affected cope better with their symptoms and regain control over their lives once more.
Understanding the Emotional Impact of PTSD
When considering the symptoms of chronic PTSD, it is important to understand the impact that this condition has on a person’s emotions. For individuals with PTSD, life can become consumed by their trauma and everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or taking a walk around the block can be unbearable due to intrusive thoughts and memories related to past events. This can manifest itself through depression, anxiety, guilt, anger and mood swings. They may struggle to regulate their emotions which are often experienced in extremes – either explosively heightened or numbed out completely.
For those living with chronic PTSD, they may be unable to remember happy memories from childhood or even recent experiences without being overwhelmed with emotion. When attempting to connect emotionally with others (friends, family or romantic partners) these connections may appear superficial due to fear of vulnerability and an inability for them to express what they are really feeling inside. An effortful lack of expression combined with feelings of isolation may contribute further mental health issues such as social phobias and addiction problems.
Another way PTSD affects emotional wellbeing is through avoidance – both physical and psychological avoidance – that becomes so pervasive it begins interfering with meaningful activities in daily life like school attendance or maintaining steady employment. Individuals who suffer from PTSD often struggle connecting internally as well as externally; disconnected from themselves they might have difficulty identifying their own emotions leading instead towards self-destructive behavior.
Physical Indicators of Chronic PTSD
Physical indicators of chronic post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult to identify and may differ in individual cases. For some people, physical symptoms related to PTSD include headaches, chronic pain or digestive issues, fatigue, insomnia and other sleeping problems. These physical conditions are the result of long-term exposure to stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which cause changes throughout the body including muscle tension and a weakened immune system.
Sufferers can often experience difficulty breathing due to a heightened sense of panic that is triggered by fear or anxiety. This hyperventilation leads to shortness of breath which can lead to fatigue and dizziness. Also associated with PTSD are more serious health issues including an increased risk for cardiac disease due to higher levels of blood pressure during episodes of extreme stress or trauma memories being triggered unexpectedly.
One very common symptom associated with PTSD is poor appetite due to changes in digestion caused by the body’s overwhelming response when trying process negative emotions like shame, guilt and anger. The resulting gastrointestinal distress from these feelings can have a severe effect on eating habits leading many individuals with chronic PTSD either overeat in an effort cope with emotional challenges or not eat at all out of fear that they will become overwhelmed again if they take time away from coping behaviors like bingeing or purging food.
Long-Term Effects of Trauma on Mental Health
The long-term effects of trauma on mental health are significant, and often overlooked. Experiences of severe emotional distress or physical harm can cause a person to develop chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While symptoms vary between individuals, common indicators include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and distressing nightmares that force sufferers to relive the traumatic event over again. People may also be haunted by intrusive memories they try to suppress but which resurface involuntarily without warning.
On top of this, those suffering with PTSD might find it difficult to trust others due to the feeling that nobody is safe from the threat of danger. This can lead to further difficulties in social situations as the individual withdraws into isolation or prevents themselves from forming meaningful relationships out of fear for their safety. Because their bodies remain constantly in a state of heightened alertness – known as hypervigilance – sufferers may experience intense fatigue as well as insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Cognitively speaking, people with PTSD may encounter numerous problems such as difficulty concentrating and cognitive overload, leading to major difficulties in everyday tasks like schoolwork or employment activities. They may have impaired memory recall which makes it hard for them to remember details about an event or keep track of conversations both important and mundane alike. For some people these issues become compounded even further by high levels of anxiety making them feel emotionally overwhelmed in response to seemingly benign triggers.
Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Chronic PTSD
For individuals living with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), recognizing the early warning signs of an onset episode or flare can be invaluable in helping to manage and treat symptoms. In addition to having previously experienced a traumatic event, those living with chronic PTSD may also experience intense fear responses even when they are not exposed to any danger. It is important for individuals and families living with PTSD to recognize these earlier indicators before its effects become overwhelming.
Manifesting as physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural symptoms, some early warning signs of chronic PTSD include insomnia or nightmares, increased feelings of irritability or aggressive behaviour towards others, extreme hypervigilance where one is constantly scanning their environment for potential threats, inability to concentrate or disorientation about time/place/person identity and confusion about what is real. Other psychological indications may also be present such as anxiousness which could potentially lead to panic attacks accompanied by shortness of breath and rapid heart rate; flashbacks from the traumatic memory that disrupt current functioning; feeling numb or detached from reality due to numbingly avoiding things associated with the traumatic event; negative thoughts regarding oneself or the world around them; self-destructive behaviours like substance abuse; along with intense reactions out of proportion to situations in daily life.
Family members may play a key role in recognising these early signs so that appropriate steps can be taken. Recognizing subtle changes in body language such as sudden movements (e.g. flinching), lowered gaze averting away from people’s sightline, facial tics caused by tension in the jaws can all be early markers used by family members. Even seemingly positive emotions such as episodes of mania might be significant if out of character compared how one normally responds in everyday life contexts – this could signify an impending worsening episode associated with chronic PTSD requiring professional attention right away.
Personal Experiences with Living with Chronic PTSD
Living with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult and life-altering. Those affected by this mental health condition experience a variety of symptoms that can make everyday tasks feel like a challenge. What’s more, many people with chronic PTSD must face their trauma head-on in order to truly recover. Even after facing it, the longterm effects may stay present in one’s life for years to come.
In some cases, PTSD patients have found success in talking therapy or medication plans – yet many individuals find themselves still struggling with the aftereffects of their past traumas on top of dealing with day-to-day responsibilities. Without proper care, these feelings can become overwhelming and lead to worsening physical health due to high levels of anxiety or depression.
Though there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment plan for those suffering from chronic PTSD, finding ways to take care of oneself while living with this condition is essential. Small acts such as keeping a regular sleep schedule and engaging in relaxation techniques are often beneficial in managing the daily struggles associated with living with this diagnosis. Forming support systems through group therapy sessions or reaching out to family members can be immensely helpful in learning how to navigate life’s journey with an invisible illness like chronic PTSD.
Treatment Options for Managing the Symptoms of Chronic PTSD
When dealing with chronic ptsd, there are many treatments available for those looking to manage their symptoms. A patient’s course of treatment largely depends on the severity of their disorder and individual needs. Different types of therapy have been shown to be effective in treating chronic ptsd and helping individuals cope with its effects.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one form of treatment that focuses on changing how a person thinks about certain situations or triggers, as well as their behavior when faced with such stimuli. Through regular meetings with an experienced therapist, a patient can learn to identify problematic thinking patterns and then devise new strategies to help them better handle stressful events. Exposure Therapy helps people confront traumatic experiences by gradually increasing contact with feared stimuli in order to reduce associated anxiety and distress. With this technique, patients work through difficult thoughts, feelings and memories while learning healthy coping skills they can use going forward.
Medication may also be used in conjunction with other therapies as part of an overall approach to managing the symptoms associated with chronic ptsd. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed drugs used for depression and anxiety disorders which can help lessen many trauma-related symptoms such as panic attacks or intrusive thoughts that characterize the disorder. However it is important for individuals to discuss any potential risks or side effects prior to starting medication for treatment purposes.