It is hard to disagree that the world is quite unstable nowadays, and many events that ordinary people could not expect begin to happen. For example, one would probably agree that almost nobody wanted to believe in the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic or the emergence of war between Ukraine and Russia. Such unexpected and terrifying events happening one by one during the past years leave their mark on ordinary people. Even those not directly involved in these events can begin to experience severe panic attacks, feel overwhelmed, lost, and stressed, have difficulty sleeping, and expect something bad to happen. The rates of some mental conditions also increase, and one example is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While some may find this disorder insignificant and try to judge those events that trigger it, PTSD is actually a very severe condition that has both well-known and neglected causes and strongly affects people’s mental health and well-being.
Defining Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
To begin with, it is essential to provide a clear definition of PTSD. Overall, as noticed by Aliev et al., post-traumatic stress disorder is well-known all around the world and affects millions of people, notwithstanding their age, gender, or ethnicity (2951). This disorder “comprises a set of alterations in cognition and mood,” making people feel different and experience negative and obsessive emotions (Aliev et al. 2952). It is also defined as a psychiatric condition that can be “characterized by clinically significant social impairment, incapacity to work, or diminishing mental ability to perform other daily functions” (Aliev et al. 2952). As stated by Blessley et al., “only 4% of men and 10% of women end up developing PTSD after experiencing trauma” (39). The causes and effects of PTSD are explored in detail below.
Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overall, this condition may be caused by an extended number of events or triggers. As evident from the disorder’s name, trauma plays a key role in its development. According to researchers, “PTSD is associated with a devastating constellation of symptoms resulting from persistent and prolonged exposure to traumatic events that directly or indirectly evoke stress” (Aliev et al. 2952). Such events can be the loss of a close person, surviving any kind of attack or catastrophe, or learning about an adverse situation that happened with either a friend or in the world. What is more, no one can judge whether an event that has triggered a person’s PTSD is actually traumatic.
Finally, it is essential to mention that there are some neglected causes of this condition. For instance, Brewin et al. mention that people with psychosis, individuals treated in intensive care units, and those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at higher risk of developing PTSD (1). Therefore, these conditions can also be considered uncommon causes of this condition because they promote an unstable state of people and deprive them of the feeling of safety.
Currently, the COVID-19 is one of the deadliest and most terrible pandemics that has either taken or affected in some way the lives of all people worldwide. Many people feel stressed because of the emergence of this new virus and show dissimilar symptoms of PTSD (Mehrad 185). Indeed, when there was no vaccine available, and the whole world could see millions of people dying every day, most individuals succumbed to panic, allowed fear into their lives, and developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
Effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
As mentioned above, PTSD has severe negative effects on people’s everyday lives, common abilities, and well-being. The symptoms of this condition cannot be ignored; otherwise, it can worsen and make one’s life extremely challenging. As noticed by Mehrad, “individuals with this disorder frequently re-experience traumatic events, expose avoidance behavior, and become irritable” (185). Post-traumatic stress disorder causes severe disabilities in the most important domains of life, making it difficult for people to communicate, be among people, remain focused and concentrated, and stay calm.
The level of life becomes rather low, but it is good that PTSD is a short-term condition. While all people experience it in their own way, the common symptoms are the following: sleeping problems like nightmares, hallucinations, and flashbacks; strange physical feelings; trembling and sweating; and distressing or repetitive images (Mehrad 185). What is more, persons diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder may have constant negative feelings or premonitions and expect something bad to happen at any moment (Blessley et al. 39). Therefore, it is evident that PTSD decreases one’s level of life, promotes alienation and lack of safety, and makes it more challenging for people to overcome the unpleasant event they experienced.
To draw a conclusion, one may say that post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe condition that spreads through a person’s sensations, like goosebumps, and makes one stop feeling safe. Since there are various causes of this condition, it is possible to say that everyone can be affected by it. Be it a friend’s death or a war between two other countries, some people are too sensitive and feel overwhelmed and stressed by these events. Further, due to the variety of symptoms, everyone experiences PTSD in a unique way. The good news is that it is a short-term disorder that can be relieved even without a specialist’s help.
Aliev, Gjumrakch, et al. “Neurophysiology and Psychopathology Underlying PTSD and Recent Insights into the PTSD Therapies – a Comprehensive Review.” Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 9, no. 9, 2020, pp. 2951-2969.
Blessley, E., et al. “Trauma and PTSD: Understanding the Brain in the Midst of Recovery.” Grey Matters, vol. 1, 2021, pp. 39-41.
Brewin, Chris R., et al. “Neglected Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” BMJ, vol. 365, no. 8205, 2019, pp. 1-2.
Mehrad, Aida. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic and Role of Emotional Intelligence.” Journal of Social Science Research, vol. 15, 2020, pp. 185-190.