post-traumatic stress disorder, also called ptsd. Happens when some memory of a past traumatic event like war. Sexual assault causes recurrent mental and physical distress now the diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders, the 5th edition or the Dsm categorizes ptsd as a trauma and stress related disorder that happens when symptoms of an acute stress response persist for over a month. The main symptoms are psychological ones, for example, someone might re-experience their trauma through nightmares, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. But these can lead to behavioral changes as well. Somebody might start to avoid environments and situations that remind them of their trauma and feel a sense of hypervigilance where they’re constantly on guard or hyper-arousal. Where they have this exaggerated startle response to the smallest of triggers. Not surprisingly, all these thoughts and behaviors can lead to trouble sleeping and general irritability, which can lead to angry outbursts. Interestingly, this pattern is different for young children who are less likely to show distress. But instead they might use play to express their memories, sometimes acting out things that trouble them, whether or not someone develops ptsd in response to trauma is determined by a number of different factors. For example, it’s clear that interpersonal trauma like rape or violent muggings are more likely to result in ptsd than accidents or environmental disasters. In addition, people that go through extreme trauma as children are more likely to develop ptsd in response to other traumas facing their adult life. Having said that, if someone manages to develop effective coping strategies for trauma, including having a social support network. Then that can help with future traumas as as far as causes go, there are some clues about biological factors related to the development of ptsd, for example, people with dysfunctions that the hypothalamic deteriorating access deficits in the arousal and sleep regulating systems in the brain and problems with the endogenous opioid system. Which helps with pain control have all been shown to be at a higher risk for developing ptsd. Ptsd has also been linked to having a family history of mood disorders or anxiety disorder. The precise mechanism, though, that ties all these relationships together has yet to be worked out. Treatment for ptsd can be kind of complicated, since people with the disorder are often reluctant to engage with the trauma in any way in their thoughts. Their emotions or in their conversations, which can make treatment really hard research, has shown that exposure therapy, which slowly exposes individuals to situations that cue recall the trauma could be very effective. Group therapy is also a popular choice for people with ptsd because it provides survivors with a safe place to relive their trauma in a supportive environment in terms of medications. Antidepressants, in particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or ssris, can help to reduce depressive symptoms that often accompany ptsd and can help minimize flashbacks and nightmares. Anti-anxiety medications can help decrease the heightened physiological arousal often seen in people with ptsd. And finally, sleep aids can be helpful because lack of sleep and restless, it’s such a serious problem with ptsd. In addition to this, a lot of people with ptsd self medicate with alcohol and other substances, which could actually worsen their symptoms and their overall health. So an important treatment consideration for both therapy and medications is to help alleviate their symptoms, while also safely managing substance abuse issues. So as a quick recap, ptsd usually happens after a violent interpersonal trauma and involves recurring thoughts that persist for over a month and can be managed with effective coping strategies and medications.