• Isabella Romero

From A to PTSD, know the difference

Hello fellow reader, if you are new here welcome to The Bella Edit, we are a lifestyle and travel brand whose purpose is to normalize talking about mental health. If you are someone that follows The Bella Edit, welcome back. If you love reading about people’s travel experiences, organizational tips, and tricks, or just find yourself to like being a spectator in someone else’s life then I invite you to follow The Bella Edit on all our social media links.

In the previous article, I talked about two of the most common eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Today I want to share with you what it means to have Acute Stress Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as ASD and PTSD.

First, I wanna touch on what is traumatic stress. It is known as an event that involves actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence to self, witnessing others experience trauma, learning that loved ones have been traumatized, or repeatedly being exposed to details of the trauma. All of these options apply to traumatic stress. You may have experienced one, two, or many at the same time. Acute Stress Disorder, also known as ASD, happens after exposure to traumatic stress and lasts about a month. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) lasts longer than one month and sometimes has a delayed onset (starts later than expected).

Both ASD & PTSD involve essentially the same symptoms: intrusive re-experiencing of the event (relieving the event through dreams, having flashbacks), avoidance of reminders of the trauma (refusing to talk about the trauma), negative mood or thoughts (refusing to feel positive emotions), exaggerated arousal or reactivity (hyper-vigilant and constantly looking for danger), and often, dissociation (space out, dissociative amnesia, feel like a robot).

You might realize that someone is suffering from ASD or PTSD, but see other symptoms in addition to the ones that are characterized by those disorders. In that case, you are seeing two or more disorders, which is called comorbidity. Many people with PTSD also suffer from other mental disorders, particularly depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse (alcohol, drugs).

Now you might think, well if trauma causes ASD and PTSD why not everybody who has gone through trauma themselves develop a disorder? It’s because it is a necessary factor in order to develop but it’s not enough. This brings me to a few causes, one of those being social factors. When dealing with social factors, PTSD focuses primarily on two things. The first one is the nature of the trauma and the individual’s level of exposure to it and two, the availability of social support following the trauma. People who have gone through some sort of trauma are more prone to develop PTSD when the trauma is more intense, is life-threatening, and involves greater exposure.

I know that we have not forgotten that biological factors can also play a role in causing PTSD. Any thoughts on the question, does exposure to trauma have biological consequences as biological causes? Well, let’s think. People who suffer traumatic stress are at risk of developing ASD or PTSD, so could we go as far as to say that people with this disorder have a different way of functioning and their brain structure, specifically in the amygdala and hippocampus region?

Last but not least, let's not put aside our friend psychology. Even though most people do not listen to it because it's not a science, it still does not negate the fact that it does affect one's balance. So, psychology says that dissociation a symptom of both ASD & PTSD is an unconscious defense mechanism that victims deploy in order to cope with their trauma. However, it only works for so long because at the end of the day it will only cause more trouble since you are not processing the grief and mourning your trauma. You are essentially avoiding it, and by not acknowledging that it happened you are saying that your trauma did not happen. You need to go through the emotional process of engaging with your trauma, then find a way to navigate your trauma and organize your thoughts and feelings and finally believe that despite the trauma you just went through that there is a better tomorrow and so many positive things to look forward to.

Thank you so much for reading, and cannot wait to share with you my next post: Why are remote jobs trending? What has changed?

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