What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD?


People who have suffered a scary, dangerous or traumatic event may develop a disorder known as PTSD. Trauma causes the body to experience a fight or flight response that results in myriad tiny changes.

Those who don’t recover from these changes over time may continue to feel stressed and frightened long after the danger has passed, potentially leading to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD Symptoms

PTSD symptoms may occur within three months of trauma or manifest themselves years later. They must interfere with work or social relationships in order for a diagnosis to occur.

A psychiatrist or psychologist will diagnose PTSD when a person experiences the following symptoms for at least one month:

  • One or more re-experiencing symptom, such as flashbacks, frightening thoughts or bad dreams;
  • One or more avoidance symptoms, such as avoiding thoughts of the incident or staying away from places, objects or events that are reminders of the incident;
  • One or more arousal and reactivity symptoms, including feeling on edge, having difficulty sleeping or being startled easily; and
  • One or more cognition or mood symptoms, such as distorted feelings about the event, e.g., blame or guilt; trouble remembering key features of the event; and loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy.
Ketamine and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD:

For more than a decade, studies have reported that ketamine is effective in reversing severe depression that is resistant to traditional anti-depressants.

Since PTSD sufferers often experience depression, it was only a matter of time before researchers began to explore its use in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2014 study conducted at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York City demonstrated that PTSD sufferers obtained significant and immediate relief compared to those who had received a placebo; both groups were assessed within 24 hours.

Ketamine for PTSD is administered intravenously, and patients receive only about a tenth of the dose used in anesthesia. In the U.S., doctors are free to prescribe it off label.

Who does PTSD affect?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is becoming increasingly common in society. PTSD may occur as a result of a single traumatic event, or from experiencing trauma through repeated acts, sometimes described as ‘complex PSTD’.

Not all traumatic experiences lead to PTSD, and for some people, a traumatic event will cause PTSD while the same traumatic event may not lead to PTSD in another person.

PTSD is linked to many different factors:

  • how long the trauma lasted,
  • other traumatic events a person may have experienced in their life,
  • their reaction to the trauma, and
  • the support and care a person received following it.

Some jobs or occupations put people in dangerous situations. Military personnel, first responders (police, firefighters, and paramedics), doctors, and nurses experience higher rates of PTSD than other professions.

What causes PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event.

Types of traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:

  • Combat and other military experiences
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Childhood abuse
  • Learning about the violent or accidental death or injury of a loved one
  • Serious accidents
  • Natural disasters, including fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake
  • Terrorist attacks
Treatment for PTSD

At this point, there is no single treatment for PTSD that works above all others. There are many variables to consider including the type of PTSD you have may vary both based on the type of traumatic event and the time of life in which it was experienced.

There are different talk therapies and medications that can help people with PTSD. For many people, these treatments combined can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense.

Trauma-focused Psychotherapies includes Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Support Groups allow people suffering from PTSD to discuss day-to-day problems with people who had have similar problems. Support Groups can be a great addition to any PTSD treatment, but will not treat your post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medication for PTSD includes SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Many medical treatments take several months of trial and error and can cause some unwanted and even permanent side effects.

A major benefit of Ketamine infusions over conventional treatment options is that if an individual is going to respond positively to Ketamine, he/she will notice an improvement in his/her symptoms within hours to days rather than weeks to months.

Ketamine may be a viable option as a way to avoid those side effects and also provide a faster relief of PTSD symptoms. To achieve optimal symptom reduction, it is recommended to combining Ketamine infusions with psychotherapy. Patients do not stop their antidepressant medication prior to beginning ketamine treatments.

Why get treatment for PTSD?

Treatment works. It’s common to think that your PTSD symptoms will just go away over time. But this is very unlikely, especially if you’ve had symptoms for longer than a year. Even if you feel like you can handle your symptoms now, they may get worse over time.

Getting treatment can help keep PTSD from causing problems in your relationships, your career, or your education — so you can live the way you want to.

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