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What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a mental disorder that occurs after the person has experienced a traumatic event. Usually, PTSD is associated with events in which the person's life was in danger (or events where the person felt they were in danger). It can also happen if the person witnessed a life-threatening event. War, natural disasters, physical abuse, sexual assault, accidents, and many other similar events can trigger this condition. While PTSD was originally viewed as being linked to the experiences of war veterans, it is known today that many people who have experienced abuse or other traumatic events might also have this problem even if they have not been to war.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of PTSD are associated with the traumatic event. The person might have vivid memories of it that sometimes feel as if the event was happening again. These are called flashbacks. The person might experience nightmares associated to the event as well. Other common symptoms involve avoidance behavior. The person will tend to avoid anything that reminds them of the event, and this avoidance is likely to increase and become more general with time. For example, after a car accident a person might first avoid their own car, then avoid getting into any cars. Additionally, people might withdraw from others, experience hopelessness, feel irritable, and constantly be on alert.

What can be done? CONTINUED...

PTSD can be effectively treated through psychotherapy. The most common approaches are trauma-focused therapy and EMDR, which both help reprocess and reduce the traumatic aftereffects. Some people can also benefit from medication. It's important to seek help for PTSD. However, many veterans suffering from PTSD have greatly benefited from a relationship with an animal and most usually a dog. The best dogs for this recovery is a trained therapy dog, confirming that the dog is indeed man’s best friend.

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