PTSD symptoms and causes

PTSD symptoms and causes: PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder that occurs after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic or very unpleasant event.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that makes sufferers remember traumatic events. Some traumatic events that can trigger PTSD are war, accidents, natural disasters, and sexual abuse.

However, not everyone who remembers a traumatic event has PTSD. There are specific criteria used to determine whether a person has PTSD.

PTSD causes

PTSD can occur after experiencing or witnessing a frightening or life-threatening event. It's not known exactly why these events cause PTSD in some people.

PTSD risk factors

Everyone can develop PTSD after witnessing or experiencing a tragic event. However, PTSD is more at risk in people who have the following risk factors:

Lack of support from family and friends

Suffering from alcohol addiction or drug abuse

Suffering from other mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders

Having a family history of mental disorders, such as depression

Having previous traumatic experiences, for example, being bullied (bullying) in childhood

Having a particular profession, for example, soldiers or medical volunteers in war areas

PTSD symptoms

PTSD symptoms are similar to Stockholm syndrome, which appears after a person experiences a traumatic event. The severity and duration of symptoms also vary in each patient.


Some of the symptoms that indicate someone is experiencing PTSD are:

1. Memories of traumatic events

People with PTSD often remember events that traumatized them. Sufferers feel as if they are repeating the incident. Memories of traumatic events often present in nightmares, so sufferers are emotionally depressed.

2. Tendency to be evasive

People with PTSD are reluctant to think about or talk about events that traumatized them. Therefore, sufferers will avoid places, activities, and people associated with the traumatic event.

3. Negative thoughts and feelings

People with PTSD tend to blame themselves or others. In addition, sufferers lose interest in activities they used to like and feel hopeless. Sufferers are also more aloof and find it challenging to establish relationships with others.

4. Changes in behavior and emotions

People with PTSD are often easily frightened or angry, even if not triggered by memories of the traumatic event. These changes in behavior often endanger themselves or others. Sufferers also have difficulty sleeping and concentrating.

PTSD can occur in both children and adults. However, in children, there are specific symptoms, including:

Frequently reenacting traumatic events through play

Not daring to part with parents or siblings, even if only for a moment

Frequent bedwetting, even though you have previously been able to urinate in the toilet

When to see a doctor

Consult a doctor if memories of a traumatic event appear that interfere with activities, especially if it lasts for 1 month or more.

Immediately consult a doctor if the memory of a traumatic event triggers you to hurt yourself or others or if it creates a desire to attempt suicide.

PTSD diagnosis

To diagnose PTSD, the doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history. After that, the doctor will carry out a physical examination to find out whether a physical illness causes the symptoms you are experiencing. If there is no physical illness, the doctor will perform a mental assessment of the patient.

A person can only be said to be suffering from PTSD if they had experienced the following conditions or events before the symptoms appeared:

Experiencing the traumatic event firsthand

Witnessing a traumatic event that happened to someone else

Hearing that a loved one experienced a traumatic event

Repeatedly imagining a traumatic event by accident

To be categorized as PTSD, the symptoms experienced after the traumatic event must have lasted 1 month or more. A person can also be declared to have PTSD if the symptoms have interfered with daily activities, especially in social and work relationships.

PTSD treatment

PTSD treatment aims to reduce the patient's emotional response and teach patients how to control themselves well when reminded of the traumatic event. Treatment methods that can be done include:


Psychotherapy is the first choice in dealing with PTSD. The doctor will combine psychotherapy and medication if the patient's symptoms are severe.

Psychotherapy can be carried out individually or in groups with other PTSD patients. Several types of psychotherapy are usually used to treat PTSD, namely:

Cognitive behavioral therapy to recognize and change the patient's negative mindset to be positive

Exposure therapy helps patients deal effectively with situations and memories that trigger the trauma

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to direct the patient's focus to specific sounds or object movements when remembering traumatic events


The drugs given to treat PTSD symptoms depend on the symptoms the patient is experiencing, such as:

Antidepressants, such as sertraline and paroxetine, to treat depression

Anti-anxiety, to overcome anxiety

Prazosin, to prevent nightmares

The doctor will increase the dose if the drug is ineffective in treating symptoms. Conversely, if proven effective, the drug will continue to be given for at least 1 year, then stop gradually.

PTSD complications

PTSD can interfere with the sufferer's life, whether in the family, with close people, or at work. If not appropriately treated, PTSD sufferers are also at risk of suffering from other mental disorders, such as:


eating disorders

Anxiety disorder

Alcohol addiction

Drug abuse

People with PTSD can also have thoughts of self-harm, even suicide.

PTSD prevention

PTSD cannot be prevented, but there are several things you can do if you experience a traumatic event, for example:

Talk to family, friends, or a therapist about the traumatic event you experienced.

Consult a doctor if you cannot overcome the feelings that arise after experiencing an unpleasant incident.


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