Post-traumatic stress disorder: When dramatic experiences leave deep traces

Post-traumatic stress disorder: When dramatic experiences leave deep traces

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People with post-traumatic stress disorder need help
For many people who have experienced terrible experiences leave their mark. It happens that these mental wounds affect those affected for a lifetime. The technical jargon then speaks of a post-traumatic stress disorder. Those affected absolutely need professional help.

Post-traumatic stress disorders after traumatic events
If people have experienced terrible things, so-called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in addition to anxiety disorder and depression, even if the traumatic event was already weeks or months, sometimes even years ago. In general, stressful events such as serious accidents, illnesses and natural disasters, but also experiences of considerable psychological, physical and sexual violence, as well as severe experiences of loss and neglect, are described as traumatizing, writes the German Trauma Foundation.

Those affected need professional help
"Classic examples are the post-traumatic stress disorders of injured soldiers, refugees, victims of violent crime or accident victims," ​​said the experts.

A study of Syrian children in the Bayern barracks in Munich last year showed that refugees in particular are often affected. It turned out that over half of the refugees reached Germany traumatized.

But there are also many circumstances in this country that can result in PTSD. For example, British scientists reported that miscarriage in women often leads to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Whatever the cause, everyone affected needs professional help. The news agency dpa reports in a recent report about a woman affected and how she deals with her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"He was really chasing me"
Years ago Gisela Huber (name changed) found the lifeless body of a man in a lake. The trained lifeguard spent half an hour alone in the water with the dead while waiting for help. In the end, she pulled the body to the shore with the help of a rope.

But they didn't want to let go of the pictures. "He was really chasing me," she says of the drowned man. According to the agency report, it takes over four years before she learns that she has a post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I felt responsible and wanted to avoid it going down again. I know how difficult it can be for the family if they cannot bury their relatives, ”said Huber. The first days after the find were disastrous.

Belief in the good is destroyed
"Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological reaction that can occur after a traumatic experience," explains Beate Klofat, a qualified psychologist and psychotherapist from Hamburg in the dpa report.

This experience can be short-lived, like a serious accident, or longer, like a hostage. According to man-made traumas such as experiences of violence, the risk of PTSD is particularly high. According to the information, up to 65 percent are affected after war experiences.

"It seems that belief in the good in these people is being destroyed," explains Iris Hauth, President of the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN).

Painful memories and nightmares
The stress hormones released during the experience may be a causal factor for PTSD because they prevent the experience from being saved correctly. “The memory, so to speak, is still available as raw material, which was not properly packaged and labeled. Therefore, fragments always come back as flashbacks, ”says Klofat.

The main symptoms are flashbacks as intrusive, painful memories and nightmares. It is said that those affected cannot distinguish between the here and now and the past. "They experience flashbacks as if they were back in the traumatic situation," explains Klofat.

Affected people often withdraw
In addition, those affected are often tense and unable to concentrate. "There is often social withdrawal and emotional indifference," explains Hauth, the medical director at the St. Joseph Hospital in Berlin-Weißensee.

In the meantime, Gisela Huber, who had been looking for help, found another drowned person and saw the body of a man run over by the train. Every experience made the old trauma flare up again, but her faith supported her. "I had the inner certainty that at some point God would show me the right place to get help."

Religiosity could therefore serve as a protection or support factor in PTSD. Because: "People with a strong social network or those who see a special meaning in life are less likely to develop PTSD," says Klofat.

Hauth says that previous crises or existing mental disorders such as depression are factors that increase the likelihood of PTSD.

Confrontation is an important part of therapy
It has only recently been reported that sleeping can help process traumatic experiences. However, according to dpa, an important core element of therapy is confrontation. Avoiding the memories and not talking about them promotes the stage in which the traumatic memories remain unprocessed.

“You can think of the memories as a stack of clothes. These have to be folded into the cupboard so that they don't fall towards you every time you open the cupboard door, ”says Klofat.

No one should struggle with the trauma for life
"As a relative, it is important to listen, let the person concerned tell them and respond to their needs," says Hauth.

Gisela Huber, who at the beginning of her therapy in a special trauma center, wanted to be able to live as before the trauma, believes that six years after the end of her therapy, she has managed to do this.

She works and goes swimming regularly in the lake where she found the body. “I want to encourage everyone to try therapy. Nobody should be bothered with the trauma for a lifetime. ”(Ad)

Author and source information

Video: COMPLEX PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (May 2022).