What is PTSD? Its History, Causes, and Treatment

Military holding hands PTSD

What is PTSD? Its History, Causes, and Treatment

You might have heard of the acronym PTSD and wondered what it meant or what it was. PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This psychiatric disorder occurs most commonly in people who have witnessed traumatic events or circumstances. Some may experience this in various ways that range from emotionally harmful to life-threatening. Because of this, it can affect the mental, social, and physical well-being of the person suffering.

The History And Causes Of PTSD

PTSD has been known by many names throughout history, the most common name being shell-shock which originated in World War I. The term shell-shock originated from the assumption that the detonation of artillery shells brought on PTSD symptoms. However, there was a term coined for PTSD back in the Civil War; where it was called Soldier’s Heart. The following term came in World War II, known as Combat Fatigue. This name was due to the belief that the symptoms of PTSD were due to prolonged deployments. In 1980, the term PTSD came into effect as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) added it to its manual on mental disorders.

What events can cause someone to develop PTSD? Numerous situations can cause someone to develop PTSD; here are a few of those causes:

  • Natural Disasters: Natural Disasters are horrific, to begin with, but the traumas that come with them can lead to the development of PTSD. A Tsunami may cause someone to experience PTSD when around a large body of water, such as a lake or ocean.
  • War/Combat: One of the most common sources of PTSD, war and combat cause several soldiers to come home after deployment with this disorder. Some triggers for experiencing PTSD could range from a sudden loud noise to raised voices.
  • Rape/Sexual Assault: Another common source of PTSD is the event of a rape or sexual assault against someone. This event happens most commonly to women but has also happened to men. Those who have been through these events will experience PTSD regarding sexual situations, often making intimate moments with a spouse or partner difficult due to the recurring traumas.
  • Bullying: Bullying is something many people have experienced in their childhood, whether from another kid or an adult. Those with PTSD due to bullying may find it challenging to handle criticisms or have difficulty forming connections with people due to past bullying.

Does Everyone Who Has PTSD Need Treatment?

It’s vital to understand that not everyone who goes through a traumatic event develops PTSD, nor does anyone who develops it require treatment. For some, PTSD symptoms can subside over some time, while others recover with the aid of their support systems, such as family or friends. However, many people with PTSD require professional aid to recover from their psychological distress. It’s crucial to remember that traumas can lead to severe distress and that the distress is not the individual’s fault. PTSD is treatable; the earlier someone gets treatment, the better their chance of recovering from their disorder becomes.

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April is the founder of Prestige Mental Health and is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC) who is qualified to practice primary care and psychiatry. She is passionate about providing quality, compassionate, and comprehensive mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults. April specializes in psychiatric illnesses including but not limited to depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD/trauma, bipolar, and schizophrenia.