Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, is more common than most people realize and can result from a single significant traumatic event or long term exposure to significant stress.

Post traumatic stress syndrome commonly occurs about three months after the event.

Normal stress relief activities may help to alleviate the symptoms but will not be enough to overcome them.

Being caught in a house fire can lead to PTSD as can living or fighting in a war zone.

However, long term domestic, child or other abuse can also trigger trauma induced stress symptoms.

Where a diagnosis is concerned it is best to see a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist rather than a less qualified counselor since some of the symptoms can overlap with other mental health disorders.

It is very important when considering treatment of trauma induced stress symptoms that we acknowledge that people can be highly traumatized from circumstances others may not recognize as traumatic.

Trauma from long term abuse may in fact be more difficult to overcome than trauma resulting from a major catastrophe, particularly if the abuse cannot be articulated.

It is therefore vital to understand the source of the trauma as well as the effects on the patient or client.

How Does Post Traumatic Syndrome Manifest Itself?

The primary symptoms of this disorder are flashbacks, being jumpy, and emotional detachment. People who have experienced a catastrophic event like a major car accident or planes hitting the Twin Towers often relive that event over and over in their mind. They experience vivid flashbacks with all the fear and emotions they involve.

Emotional detachment occurs when people are worn out emotionally by their experience and need to detach from reminders of the event. They often isolate themselves socially and lose the ability to cope with other people’s needs. This can be a problem if the sufferer is a parent who still needs to function in the best interests of their children.

People with PTSD are also likely to have a hyperactive startle reflex which simply means they overreact to noises, surprises or even shocks. They are very jumpy and often hyper-vigilant, looking for danger and threats in their environment.

How To Treat Post Traumatic Syndrome

Traditional treatments of post traumatic stress disorder revolve around 'talk therapy'. Some of these approaches tend to be more successful than others.

For example, studies have been conducted showing that exposure therapy tends to have twice the success rate as cognitive restructuring therapy. Exposure therapy needs to be carefully conducted by a trained psychologist since it encourages the client to revisit the trauma in a safe and supervised environment.

Initially, anti-anxiety medications such as Paxil are often prescribed to assist in the sufferer’s ability to cope and adjust.

However, there are some serious questions about the effectiveness of the traditional psychological approaches to post traumatic stress syndrome.

The scientific model says we cannot accept a treatment unless it has been rigorously tested in blind studies, however some forms of treatment do not fit well into a Western medical paradigm.

Alternative Medicine Approaches

Eastern traditional medicine has had a successful track record in treating PTSD because it focuses on the body’s energy system which can be disrupted as a result of traumatic experiences. We can be wired to feel high emotion as a result of particular events and circumstances.

Energy meridian therapies act to release energy blockages so that the body and mind can heal themselves.

Acupuncture is a wonderful stress relief treatment that has been successfully used to treat trauma induced stress symptoms and has, in fact, helped to avoid their onset after the traumatic event.

Other energy therapies successfully used to treat post traumatic stress disorder include Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Be Set Free Fast (BSFF), and applied kinesiology.

Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming have also been used to help people recover from PTSD.

Things You Can Do At Home

A healthy diet, adequate sleep and plenty of exercise combined with whatever personal stress relief activities work best for the individual, should also be an integral part of treatment.

Learn more about a technique called EMDR, with good results treating PTSD.

Take a look at out many other articles about stress relief tips which you can find on our Web site.


Post traumatic stress syndrome is real and debilitating but it can be treated. The best way to treat it will differ from person to person. So, if you are suffering from this problem don’t passively just follow someone else’s instructions.

Be an active participant in your own healing from post traumatic stress syndrome and learn every thing you can about the disorder and the various types of treatments available. This way, you will be far more likely to find an approach that works best for you and get your life back on track.

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