Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Increased Suicide Risk


When an individual goes through traumatic events such as assault, combat or disaster,
chances of them developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are higher. Research studies indicate the existence of a correlation between suicidal behaviors and some types of trauma. For instance, evidence exists, that traumatic events like childhood abuse and military sexual trauma can enhance the risk for suicide and self-harm. With this in mind, it is important to screen for suicide risk.

PTSD and Suicide

There is considerable debate on the issue of heightened risk of suicide in trauma survivors. Some studies suggest suicide risk is higher in people who experience trauma due to PTSD symptoms while othePTSDrs indicate that suicide risk is higher in PTSD individuals due to related psychiatric conditions. Data analyzed by the National Comorbidity Survey showed that singlehandedly, PTSD can significantly influence suicidal attempts or ideation.

Another data analytical study using information gathered by the Canadian Community Health Survey also found that respondents with PTSD displayed a higher risk for suicidal attempts even after mental disorders and physical illness were put under control.

Anger, impulsivity, and intrusive memories are among the behaviors that predict suicide risk. Also, cognitive styles of coping like the use of suppression to deal with stress can additionally be predictive of suicidal risk especially in individuals suffering from PTSD.

PTSD Treatment

As pointed above, the risk of suicide for a person who has gone through trauma is very high. In order to ensure such past traumatic events do not precipitate suicidal attempts, it is important that the individuals concerned are identified in time for treatment. Therapy is the best treatment approach for those suffering from PTSD. In particular, cognitive behavioral treatments can significantly reduce both PTSD symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

Research has established that cognitive behavioral treatments tend to have an effect that lasts anything between 5 and 10 years after the treatment is completed. Having a good relationship with mental health providers is therefore a commendable approach if you are to make the best out of your treatment decisions.

Due to the link between suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and PTSD, there needs to be regular assessments during the mental health treatment exercise. Where the provider has a reason to believe that the immediate risk for suicide is high in his or her patient based on his assessment, he can then make appropriate treatment decisions to ensure that the patient is safe. In the event the immediate suicide risk is not as high, the patient can be managed on an outpatient basis.

What to Do if you or Someone You Know is Suicidal

From time to time, each one of us feels down. However, if you find yourself having thoughts of hurting yourself, consider seeking professional help. Many people with suicidal thoughts also tend to struggle with drinking, drug, or depression problems. Therefore, watch out for these.

In the event you come in contact with a friend, family member or coworker contemplating suicide, start by calming them and advising them on mentor health options available in your area. Connecting with such a person with a mental health provider is often the best approach because these professionals are in a much better position to decide the extent of danger there is.

Someone You Know Has Died Through Suicide

It can be very upsetting when a person you are related or you know very well dies by suicide. Depending on how close you are to them, feelings of shock and distress can engulf you particularly if you saw them committing the act. If you find it hard to cope with the incident even after months have elapsed, contacting a mental health provider can help you overcome the traumatic grief.

Understanding and Addressing Anxiety & Panic Disorders

Anxiety and Stress and its Destructive Qualities

Anxiety and Stress and its Destructive Qualities

 

Feelings of anxiety are common and they affect every one of us at one time or the other. It is considered a normal emotion and a majority of people experience nervousness and anxiety at work, before taking tests or when making important decisions in their lives. However, you must be careful not to confuse nervousness with anxiety disorders because the latter can cause distress and interfere with your normal life functions. Anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by fear and worry, which can be overwhelming and at times disabling. Learning how to manage these feelings through treatment can enable you to live a fulfilling life.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are a number of anxiety disorders some of which include:

Panic Disorder – People suffering from this condition experience feelings of terror that tend to strike repeatedly and suddenly without a preamble. Other symptoms include sweating, palpitations, chest pains, and feelings of choking.

Social Anxiety Disorder – This is also referred to as social phobia and involves overwhelming instances of self-consciousness and worry about day to day situations. The worry is often centered around the fear of being judged by other people or behaving in a manner likely to cause embarrassment or ridicule.

Specific Phobias – This refers to intense fears of a particular situation or object such as fear of heights or flying. The level of fear is normally inappropriate to the situation and when it persists, can cause you to avoid every day situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Just as there are different types of anxiety disorders, so are the symptoms. That being said, there are general symptoms that can indicate the existence or risk of anxiety disorders. Some of these signs include:

Sleeping problems

Sweaty feet and hands

Shortness of breath

Palpitations

Dry mouth

Muscle tension

Dizziness

Nausea

Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet

The Causes of Anxiety Disorders

The main cause of anxiety disorders is largely unknown, but scientists are still doing research to determine the combination of factors that result into anxiety disorders. Up until now, we know that anxiety disorders are linked to environmental stress and changes in the brain. The mind contains circuits that regulate emotions including fear. Where these circuits are interfered with, anxiety may result.

For instance, severe or long lasting stress can change the manner in which nerve cells transmit information from one part of the brain to the other and this can cause anxiety. A few studies have managed to trace anxiety disorders along family lines which have brought into the open the possibility of genetic transmission and inheritance.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

When you exhibit symptoms of anxiety disorders, the doctor may evaluate your situation by asking questions touching on your medical history as well as perform a physical examination. There are various tests other than lab tests that specialists resort to in a bid to diagnose anxiety disorders.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are better placed to evaluate your condition using assessment tools and interviews. The intensity of your condition and the duration of the symptoms are a pointer upon which the medical practitioner basis his or her diagnosis.

The treatment approach to be used for anxiety disorders depends on the type of disorder you are suffering from. The practitioner may recommend therapies such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even drugs. Psychotherapy is a type of counseling which helps in addressing the emotional response to mental conditions. The health professionals will take you through a number of strategies that will help you understand and deal with your disorder.

Though anxiety disorders cannot be prevented, there are things you can do to lessen or control the symptoms such as reduction in consumption of certain foods and drinks such as chocolate, energy drinks, coffee, cola, and tea. Ensure you seek counseling and support if you have any reason to believe your anxiety is overboard.

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