Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that has a far-reaching and disturbing effect on a person’s everyday life. Statistics by the US Department of Veteran Affairs in 2019 show that about 8 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year. And according to the numbers of Sidran Institute in 2018, 1 in 13 people in the US will develop PTSD at some point in their lifetime.
Moreover, 20% of the individuals who have undergone a traumatic event will develop PTSD. Among all the concerns about PTSD, the question “how long does PTSD last?” seems to be the most common one.
This article will provide you with a thorough understanding of PTSD, including its symptoms and causes, how long PTSD can last, and the risk factors considered to contribute to the development of PTSD. We will also show you some healthy ways of dealing with and recovering from the condition.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as defined by the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHK), is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, terrifying, or disturbing events—either through experiencing them directly or by witnessing them.
Individuals with PTSD may feel isolated, irritable, and guilty; they may also relive the traumatic situation through nightmares and flashbacks. Likewise, they may also suffer from insomnia and find it difficult to concentrate. These symptoms could last for many months and even years. And if it gets worse, the severity could have a serious impact on the person’s daily life.
To reduce symptoms and help people with PTSD enjoy a better life, it is important that they receive effective treatment right after developing symptoms.
Mayo Clinic explains that individuals usually experience the symptoms of PTSD a month after a traumatic event. However, sometimes, these symptoms may not show up until years later.
PTSD symptoms are categorized into 4 types of experiences:
Symptoms of intrusive memories may contain:
Symptoms of avoidance may include:
This mental outlook may include the following symptoms:
Symptoms of emotional and physical distress can include:
PTSD symptoms can get more intense when you are faced with a stressful situation, or when you are reminded of the trauma you witnessed or experienced. With regards to children 6 years old and younger, they can relive the traumatic event during play time or at night through terrifying dreams.
Unbearable stress that the mind or body cannot handle and has a hard time processing culminates in the symptoms of PTSD. The kinds of unwanted experiences which can cause PTSD may include:
Who is more prone to PTSD?
Some people are more prone to develop PTSD than others. Or, when they suffer from PTSD, their problem may get more serious. This may be because of the following factors:
Exposure to traumatic situations is widely believed as an initial triggering factor behind PTSD. However, researchers have shown that there could be additional elements that contribute to the development of PTSD. The following factors have been considered by scientists as contributors to a higher potential of the development of PTSD.
Genetic factors have been shown by researchers to have an influence on the development of various mental health issues, including PTSD. A study conducted on European-American females in general found that genetics impact nearly one-third of the risk of developing PTSD after a traumatic event. This could be linked to the fact that their European ancestors experienced wars and conflict. This could be explained through the framework of epigenetics, a study of how the environment influences genetics and how emotional traumas can be passed on from one generation to the next. Meanwhile, the genetic risk rate in men was found to be significantly lower.
Lack of social assistance is another risk factor. Those who receive very little or no support from their family, friends, or society, set themselves up for a higher risk of developing PTSD. Therefore, providing support for people who have just undergone a traumatic event will make them rekindle hope and maintain a stable emotional balance.
A study exploring the relationship between IQ and vulnerability to PTSD pointed out that children with IQ in the top 15% (115 or higher) are substantially less susceptible to trauma and PTSD, compared to children with average IQ.
People who exhibit greater neuroticism have been shown to be more likely to suffer from PTSD.
Trauma has been proven by researchers to have a cumulative effect. Therefore, if a person does not show symptoms of PTSD after surviving a trauma, he or she can develop PTSD after subsequent trauma.
In addition to the above-mentioned risk factors, there are other elements that have been considered to contribute to the development of PTSD. They include mental health conditions before the traumatic event (eg. mood disorders, anxiety-related disorders), life stressors (divorce, financial pressure), and the intense nature of the triggering event. Finally, addiction to alcoholic beverages and drugs, and having blood relatives with mental health problems can increase the likelihood of developing PTSD.
According to Mayo Clinic, people with PTSD may stand a higher risk of other mental health problems, such as:
“How long does PTSD last?” is a common concern among many people. According to John H. Krystal, a leading expert in the area of PTSD from Yale School of Medicine, there is no fixed length of time a person can experience PTSD. Krystal stated that before receiving a PTSD diagnosis, a person must show symptoms for at least one month. In some situations, if not treated, PTSD can last a very long time, perhaps the remainder of one’s life.
Krystal added that most people with long-standing PTSD experience notice the fluctuation in the severity of the symptoms. For some people, PTSD symptoms gradually decrease over time. On the other hand, some individuals notice the increase of their symptoms when they come across reminders of their traumatic situation.
Despite the disturbing effects of PTSD in your everyday life, the good news is that there are a number of ways to deal with and recover from it. With the tips below, you will have more insight into how to deal with PTSD and how to recover from the condition.
When you’ve survived a traumatic event, you will experience some common reactions such as fear, anxiety, anger, and depression. These normal stress reactions can get worse and turn into PTSD if they are not dealt with right away. Therefore, you should seek assistance from your trusted family members or friends.
Fortunately, there are organizations that help veterans with PTSD, such as Guards Down. You can seek help and support from these organizations to find the right counseling, a support group with like-minded people and natural healing products. For more information, you can visit https://www.guardsdown.com/.
You can also make an appointment with a mental health professional. With his or her support, you won’t have to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as using alcohol or drugs.
Besides reaching out for help from others, you can also try out one, or a combination of the following activities to reduce PTSD symptoms and tension:
PTSD may get you stuck in constant disturbing memories and create a far-reaching impact on your daily life. However, with proper knowledge of its causes and symptoms, knowing how long PTSD lasts, as well as understanding healthy ways to prevent and deal with PTSD, you will gradually overcome the traumatic experience and regain control of your life.
We hope this article has provided you all the information you need on your healing journey. For more useful articles on health and beauty, please continue browsing our website!