By Lisa Smith
Many associate post-traumatic stress disorder with combat, but a range of circumstances can lead to the psychological condition that people develop after witnessing a traumatic event or learning of a loved one’s experience.
Feeling on edge, having trouble sleeping or being reluctant to re-engage in everyday life is normal after a traumatic event. Most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. Often, those with a strong support system can cope with what happened more quickly.
However, if these feelings last more than a few months, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start months or years later, or they may come and go over time.
What can cause PTSD?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, PTSD affects 3.6 percent of the U.S. adult population, which amounts to about 9 million individuals. About 40 percent of those diagnosed with PTSD have severe symptoms. Women are significantly more likely to experience PTSD than men.
Many different circumstances can cause PTSD, including:
How do experts diagnose PTSD?
A health care provider specializing in behavioral health is the best person to diagnose PTSD. A physical exam and mental health screening are part of the diagnosis.
To determine if someone has PTSD, all of these symptoms must occur for at least one month, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
How does PTSD affect your brain?
Psychological distress can alter our normal brain wave patterns. One way to study this is through electroencephalograms or EEGs, which measure electrical signals in the brain.
During the noninvasive test, technicians attach electrodes to the head, temples and forehead. The brain’s electrical signals are strong enough to transmit through the skull and be picked up by an EEG. A neurologist will read the study results and look for patterns or irregularities.
Researchers have found links to brain wave patterns and PTSD. The correlations are complex, but researchers hope by studying EEGs and PTSD, they can help diagnose and treat patients more effectively.
NeuLine Health offers ambulatory EEGs where patients can undergo the test for several days in their own homes. Ambulatory EEGs produce more reflective results mapping someone’s true state of mind because they are in the comfort of their home instead of a clinic.
Psychotherapy or “talk” therapy and medications are the main treatments for people with PTSD.
Psychotherapy relies on a mental health expert to work on coping and healing. It can be in a one-on-one setting, group therapy – or both.
These key components are necessary:
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT can include:
Behavioral health experts may prescribe antidepressants to help control sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. They can prescribe other medicines to help with sleep problems and nightmares.
For more information about NeuLine Health EEGs, read about us online or call (844) 212-5321.