What is the outlook for those recovering from PTSD?
Treatment for PTSD does not offer any quick fixes, making recovery a step-by-step process. Most do recover from their symptoms and make use of the learned coping strategies for the remainder of their lives.
Therapy, medication and support groups provide a person with the opportunity to get onto the right road for recovery. Life after treatment can be comfortable and normal if the most effective strategies to get the better of intrusive memories and thoughts remain as a part of life.
In this way recovery is ongoing, meaning that symptoms may never disappear altogether. Symptoms just become less intense and more infrequent.
Is it possible to prevent PTSD?
Early intervention following a traumatic event may be the best means of alleviating severe symptoms of PTSD. It is normal to experience symptoms post-event for short period of time. Doctors use one month of continuous symptoms as a benchmark for PTSD diagnosis. Many may experience symptoms that begin to subside by then. If not, a person is at risk of long-term post-traumatic stress disorder and should seek treatment as soon as possible.
The sooner any symptom associated with trauma is tended to by a certified medical professional the better, and in some instances, may prevent PTSD. A person should also lean on a healthy support structure post traumatic event, so as to steer clear of adverse behaviours such as substance abuse.
Postpartum PTSD – is it possible?
In short, yes. It is possible. Some women can become severely affected by medical complications during pregnancy or delivery (severe morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum, perineal injury or haemorrhage), emergency deliveries (traumatic labour / birth), stillbirth and pregnancy loss, postpartum depression, NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) hospitalisations, illness of a baby (especially those as a result of birth defects), problems with breastfeeding or severe colic. These types of challenges coupled with feeling isolated and lonely, as well as being severely sleep deprived and having virtually no support system can become a recipe for severe negative stress reactions – in both new mothers and fathers.
Internal stress reactors to the sounds of uncontrollable screams and wailing from a baby for weeks or months can have just as much impact as sounds like gunfire that are associated with a traumatic event. If stress is severe enough, it can cause PTSD symptoms.
Symptoms of postpartum PTSD are much the same and include avoiding consultations with a paediatrician, difficulties with bonding with a new baby and even becoming obsessive over a child. It is important for a new parent to recognise symptoms as soon as possible and seek medical treatment.