Navigating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Path to Recovery by HH Sayyida Basma Al Said

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex psychological condition that arises in response to traumatic events, although the severity of its manifestation can vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the trauma. This disorder is often triggered by experiences that have deeply impacted an individual, such as serious health issues, accidents, or emotionally distressing situations. Similar to what we went through with the COVID pandemic. The impact of PTSD is multi-faceted and hinges on several factors: the nature of the event itself, the individual’s personal characteristics, and the specific moment when the trauma occurred.

While the severity of PTSD can differ from person to person, its influence is undeniable. It is not uncommon for some individuals to initially deny the effects of a traumatic event, this form of denial leads to a misconception or a myth that the passage of time will naturally get rid of such symptoms. However, due to the deep-seated nature of traumatic events within the unconscious and subconscious mind, these experiences can continue to exert an influence on an individual’s emotional and mental state years later without the person being consciously aware of it. For instance, a person attending a funeral years after serving in the military may suddenly find themselves re-experiencing emotions related to their time in combat.

These triggers, often linked to specific events, can also be contextualized within broader societal circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a pertinent example, where even harmless or normal actions such as seeing someone wear a mask or use hand sanitizer can evoke intense memories and emotions related to the pandemic’s challenging times, triggering a person, and causing PTSD episode.

The process of addressing and healing from PTSD involves several crucial steps. The initial step entails recognizing and acknowledging the existence of the problem. Once this is achieved, seeking the expertise of both psychologists and psychiatrists becomes integral to the healing journey. These professionals collaborate to uncover the root causes of the trauma, which may be deeply embedded in the subconscious mind. It is within this hidden room that various traumas are stored, waiting to be explored and confronted.

The assessment of an individual’s experiences is a pivotal component of treatment. Evaluating the frequency of PTSD episodes and identifying the triggers that precipitate them can provide valuable insights into an individual’s condition, and help the patient understand when these triggers are occurring and why. Classification of PTSD exists on a spectrum consisting of three degrees: first-degree instances triggered by a single event, second-degree instances stemming from recurring circumstances of the same instance, and third-degree cases wherein multiple situations contribute to a single triggering response. The process of healing from PTSD involves a combination of psychological and psychiatric interventions. While these methods are designed to facilitate recovery, individuals who disregard their emotional and mental health needs risk entering a cycle of reliving traumatic experiences, leading to stagnation. By addressing these issues proactively, the recovery process can be greatly enhanced, aiding individuals in effectively navigating and overcoming their traumatic experiences.

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