Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that a person may develop after going through (or witnessing) something traumatic. PTSD is often marked by symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and even intrusive thoughts about the initial traumatic event.
Most people will have difficulty coping with the reality of something traumatic they have recently gone through. These feelings will go away on their own with time in most cases, but if the symptoms get worse and last longer, you may be instead suffering from PTSD.
How to get diagnosed with PTSD
Your healthcare provider can perform several different tests or examinations to determine if what you are suffering from is indeed PTSD.
Per the Mayo Clinic, PTSD can be diagnosed through these tests:
- A physical exam
- A psychological evaluation
- A comparison of your symptoms with the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)
Before you schedule an appointment, it would be wise to learn more about the symptoms of PTSD and similar mental health disorders.
The symptoms of PTSD
Although, in most cases, symptoms first show within a month of the original traumatic event, they may sometimes not appear until years after the event. These symptoms make it hard to carry out your normal life and will interfere with your personal and professional tasks and activities.
The symptoms of PTSD can be divided into four categories, although these symptoms are not mutually exclusive and tend to vary between cases.
- Consistent and unwanted memories of the initial event
- Flashbacks to the event
- Unpleasant nightmares of the event
- Emotional or physical distress to things that remind you of the event
- Avoidance of thoughts or conversations about the traumatic event
- Avoidance of people, things, or places that remind you of the events
Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood
- Thinking negatively about yourself and the world
- Difficulty remembering
- Difficulty maintaining your close relationships
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of interest in hobbies
- Feeling emotionally numb
Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions
- Being easily startled
- Being on guard all the time
- Self-destructive behavior (like substance abuse)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Disruptions in sleep patterns
- Angry outbursts
- Aggressive behavior
- Feelings of guilt and shame
The causes of PTSD
PTSD, like other mental health conditions, is a complicated mix of many of the following factors:
- Stressful events or traumatic experiences you have lived through
- A family history of mental health conditions or PTSD
- Inherited personality features (your temperament)
- The way your brain and body respond to stress
Risk factors for PTSD can include the following:
- Intense or ongoing trauma
- Childhood abuse
- Exposure to traumatic events through your line of work
- Other mental health conditions like depression or anxiety
- Substance abuse
- Not having a strong social support system
Ketamine Treatment for PTSD
Research indicates that ketamine can treat PTSD by binding to certain receptors in the brain, increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter glutamate is released. This then sets off a chain reaction that affects thinking and emotional regulation.
This means, in a more common language, that the brain reacts to ketamine infusions in a way that triggers hormones that help the brain create more positive emotions. Unlike other treatments, ketamine can provide this relief within hours or days of the first infusion, although it is most successful as a series of infusions.
If you or a loved one are struggling with PTSD, contact us today to find out if this innovative new treatment option is right for you.