Post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) is a serious illness that needs professional intervention and treatment. To help decide whether you or a loved one might have this disorder, consider the five questions below.
- Have you ever experienced or witnessed a life-threatening event that caused you to feel intense fear, helplessness, or horror?
- Do you re-experience this event in at least one of the following ways?
- Repeated distressing memories or dreams.
- Flashbacks or a sense of reliving the event.
- Intense physical and or emotional distress when exposed to things that remind you of the event.
- Do you avoid reminders of the event and feel numb, compared with the way you felt before in three or more of the following ways?
- Avoiding thoughts, feelings, or conversations concerning it.
- Avoiding activities, places, or people who remind you of it.
- Being unable to remember important parts of it.
- Losing interest in significant activities in your life.
- Feeling detached from other people.
- Feeling that your range of emotions is restricted.
- Feeling as if you have no future, and that you cannot expected to have a career, long life, successful marriage, or achieve other important goals.
- Are you troubled by two or more of the following?
- Problems sleeping.
- Irritability or outbursts of anger.
- Problems with concentration.
- Feeling “on guard” all the time.
- Exaggerated jumpiness.
- Do your symptoms interfere with your daily life?
Stress refers to any reaction to a physical, mental, social, or emotional stimulus that requires a response to the way we perform, think, or feel. Change is stressful even if change is good. Worry produces stress.
Stress is often viewed as a psychological problem, but it has very real physical effects. The body responds to stress with a series of physiological changes that include increased secretion of adrenaline, elevation of blood pressure, acceleration of the heartbeat, and greater tension of the muscles. Digestion slows or stops, fats and sugars are released from stores in the body, cholesterol levels rise, and the composition of the blood changes slightly, making it more prone to clotting. This in turn increases the risk of stroke or heart attack.
As a result of a complex of physical reactions, the body does not absorb nutrients well when it is under stress. With prolonged or recurrent stress, the body becomes deficient in several nutrients and is unable to replace them adequately. Many of the disorders that arise from stress are the result of nutritional deficiencies.