Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as war, violence, abuse, accident, disaster or other life-threatening events. It is characterized by intense fear and emotional distress in response to reminders of the trauma. Symptoms of chronic PTSD include intrusive thoughts, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, re-experiencing of the event through flashbacks or nightmares, feeling on edge/hypervigilance and negative thinking about oneself and one’s world. Treatment for this condition typically includes therapy with a focus on gaining insight into the trauma and learning coping strategies to manage symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to reduce anxiety levels if necessary.
What is Chronic PTSD?
Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person has been exposed to one or more traumatic events. Symptoms of PTSD often occur immediately following the traumatic event and may persist for months or even years afterwards. Those with chronic PTSD experience symptoms similar to those in acute PTSD, such as nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and physical reactions. However, individuals with chronic PTSD tend to have an even higher level of emotional distress that lasts much longer than those in acute phase of the disorder.
The effects of chronic PTSD can include feeling overwhelmed by emotion and living with a heightened sense of danger on a daily basis – leading to fear-based behaviors and increased physiological arousal including insomnia, hypervigilance and difficulty relaxing or calming down. This can also lead to impaired concentration levels and difficulty making decisions. Those with chronic PTSD may experience social difficulties due to their sense of unease when confronted by new people or places as well as changes in self-image related to trust issues which could contribute to decreased confidence levels.
In order for treatment for individuals suffering from chronic PTSD symptoms, it is important for them receive therapy from qualified professionals experienced in trauma-focused techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In some cases, pharmacotherapy may be prescribed along with these treatments but each case should be assessed individually as there is no single approach that works best for all patients. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan tailored specifically towards the individual’s needs however; long-term recovery from this condition is achievable.
Symptoms of Chronic PTSD
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a complex psychological disorder that can occur after being exposed to an extreme traumatic event. For some people, the symptoms are not just fleeting and they end up developing chronic PTSD. This type of PTSD comes with a wide range of symptoms, both physical and mental.
Physically, those suffering from chronic PTSD often experience fatigue, frequent headaches and stomach pain, muscular tension and even increased heart rate when triggered by certain memories or situations. Common emotions include fear, guilt and shame while difficulty sleeping due to nightmares or flashbacks are also common occurrences for those living with this disorder.
Those who suffer from chronic PTSD may experience long-term difficulties in social relationships since it is difficult for them to process their trauma and control their reactions as a result of the intense emotions associated with retelling or acknowledging the event that caused their disorder in the first place. They may also have trouble performing daily tasks like work or school due to lack of focus and energy brought on by stress. It can feel very isolating but having someone who understands the situation can help support them through it all; therapy is essential for healing these wounds so that those affected can continue living life more comfortably.
Causes of Chronic PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, can be a debilitating condition that some people develop after experiencing a traumatic event. It is estimated to affect approximately 3.6 percent of adults in the United States. For some individuals, this disorder is considered to be chronic if it continues for more than three months following the initial trauma they experienced. In order to understand chronic PTSD, we need to consider what causes this form of the disorder.
Most often, chronic PTSD occurs when an individual experiences a serious traumatic event such as war or other physical violence; however, cases of this type have also been documented due to frequent occurrences of psychological abuse or threats over long periods of time. Any kind of deep betrayal that violates trust in significant relationships has been linked with triggering intense and debilitating symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other potential sources may include exposure to natural disasters or industrial accidents as well as emotional traumas related to childhood sexual abuse or bullying.
Stress hormones like cortisol are believed to play a role in how severe an individual’s PTSD symptoms become over time because high levels of these hormones can interfere with normal cognitive processes such as memory recall and decision making abilities which may contribute to the onset or worsening of chronic PTSD depending on the length and intensity of exposure experienced by someone during their trauma. This risk increases when those affected do not receive adequate treatment for their condition including professional counseling and therapy designed specifically for treating mental health issues surrounding difficult life events from their past.
Risk Factors for Developing Chronic PTSD
Chronic PTSD is a complex mental health disorder that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. As such, it is important to understand potential risk factors associated with its onset. It has been shown that people who have experienced intense trauma or have suffered from a single major incident are at greater risk of developing chronic PTSD than those who have not encountered the same types of life events. The severity of a traumatic event can increase the likelihood for developing this long-term condition.
In addition to environmental and situational factors, genetic predisposition may also play a role in vulnerability towards chronic PTSD. Research suggests an increased prevalence among individuals who possess certain biological markers such as elevated stress hormones or abnormal cortisol levels, which could lead to more severe and prolonged responses to traumatic experiences. Social support networks may also be protective in some cases; having access to someone to turn for comfort can help buffer the effects of prolonged distress on one’s mental health over time.
Research has further identified early life adversity as another indicator for heightened chronic PTSD risk later on in life due to existing psychological trauma coupled with reduced socio-emotional capacity, lack of resources and increased exposure to potential future danger when faced with similar situations down the road. This indicates how critical prevention interventions during times of significant adversity may be in reducing ultimate risks in adulthood amongst those deemed particularly vulnerable.
Treatments for Chronic PTSD
When faced with chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traditional forms of treatment may seem daunting. To treat this condition, sufferers must find therapeutic interventions to address the underlying issues that are causing and/or fueling their symptoms. Some of these methods include cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy, trauma-informed yoga and other mind/body therapies, mindfulness practices and more.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that focuses on challenging maladaptive thought patterns and beliefs in order to help patients manage their emotions. This type of therapy has been found to be especially effective for those who struggle with Chronic PTSD due to its ability to not only aid in controlling intrusive thoughts but also reducing anxiety levels caused by said thoughts. CBT helps build healthy coping skills which can give patients a better understanding of how they react or respond in various situations.
EMDR is a technique used primarily as a form of psychotherapy for treating trauma related issues such as chronic PTSD by desensitizing the traumatic memories through bilateral stimulation techniques like eye movements or tapping. It works by stimulating both sides of the brain simultaneously allowing individuals to work through past events more effectively than when done solely through talk therapy alone. EMDR has been found highly successful in helping people suffering from recurrent flashbacks, nightmares and other distressing symptoms associated with long-term PTSD treatment often taking fewer sessions than traditional therapies require while still being highly effective.
There are many treatment options available for individuals dealing with the daily effects of chronic PTSD, ranging from traditional therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), yoga & other mind/body therapies, mindfulness practices amongst others – meaning you’re sure to find something that can provide some relief.
Living with Chronic PTSD: Coping Strategies and Support
Living with Chronic PTSD can be a daunting experience, often leaving those affected feeling overwhelmed and confused. Coping strategies and support are crucial in helping individuals navigate their symptoms, triggers and complex emotions in order to achieve long-term mental wellness. Learning how to create an individualized plan that works for each person is paramount, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing the condition.
Some coping mechanisms which may prove useful include mindfulness practices such as yoga, tai chi and deep breathing exercises which all help reduce stress levels; self care activities like journaling or spending time outdoors; regular physical exercise; and finding social outlets through joining support groups or seeking counselling from qualified professionals. These strategies provide those living with Chronic PTSD the opportunity to take control of their lives and feelings of hopelessness by enabling them to manage emotions more effectively when faced with challenging situations.
Organizations such as The National Center for PTSD offer programs aimed at providing individuals with tangible resources related to their disorder such as tips on stress management, coping skills training and holistic approaches that promote emotional wellbeing. Online resources such as educational videos, blogs and literature offer invaluable insights into better understanding this condition so sufferers can make informed decisions about how they want to tackle it.