An estimated 70% of adults in the United States will experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime, and 20% of those individuals will develop PTSD (Kadish, 2019). PTSD, or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition that may occur in people who have witnessed or personally experienced a traumatic event. One question that is frequently asked about this disorder is “Does PTSD ever go away?” The short answers is that the symptoms of PTSD never completely go away. However, there are ways to diminish the symptoms through specific techniques. With that being said, living and thriving with PTSD is more than possible.
What exactly is PTSD?
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or most commonly known as PTSD, is a mental health condition that is triggered by a traumatic or life-threatening event that an individual has either witnessed or experienced. This disorder can cause individuals to suffer from nightmares, vivid flashbacks, and severe anxiety. In some cases, those who are diagnosed with PTSD may even avoid specific places or activities that are reminders of the trauma.
Although many people will have short term responses to life-threatening or traumatic events, some will develop longer-term symptoms leading to the diagnosis of PTSD. There are four main types of PTSD symptoms, including:
- cognitive and mood symptoms,
- arousal symptoms,
- re-experiencing symptoms, and
- avoidance symptoms.
If you have personally experienced a traumatic or life-threatening event, it is important to understand the definition of PTSD and the symptoms associated with it in order to properly assess your next steps towards treatment.
The Affects of Trauma on Your Brain and Body
When we experience stress from what the body perceives as a threat, the brain creates a psychological and physical response called the fight or flight response. During the fight or flight response, your brain triggers the release of adrenaline and epinephrine. These hormones help your body react quickly by increasing heart rate and blood flow to the brain and muscles in order to help you defend yourself or run. Once the threat passes, your brain then begins to release norepinephrine calming you down and returning yourself back to a normal state.
For those with PTSD, they do not experience a normal and healthy fight or flight response. Instead, these individuals experience a constant state of alertness meaning that their stress response stays active even after the traumatic event, often leading to self-destructive thoughts or actions, intense fear, and distorted reality of past or current events.
When Does PTSD Go Away?
PTSD never entirely goes away; however, with proper treatment, PTSD symptoms can be diminished and made manageable. How long the disorder lasts depends on multiple factors including the type and severity of the trauma, how long the trauma lasted, and how the patient’s brain was affected by the traumatic event (Peterson, 2019).
With proper treatment, it is possible to live with PTSD. Experiencing a traumatic event doesn’t have to take over your life. We are here to help and want to guide you through the trauma you faced! Contact us for a consultation with Dr. Sambunaris and start your new beginning!
Kadish, S. (2019, December 4). Does PTSD ever go away? dealing with PTSD. PCH Treatment Center. Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.pchtreatment.com/does-ptsd-ever-go-away/.
Peterson, T. J. (n.d.). How long does PTSD last? does PTSD ever go away? HealthyPlace. Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.healthyplace.com/ptsd-and-stress-disorders/ptsd/how-long-does-ptsd-last-does-ptsd-ever-go-away.
Posttraumatic stress disorder. NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Posttraumatic-Stress-Disorder.
About the author
Renee Posa serves as a writer for the blog of Dr. Sambunaris and Associates. She currently holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Kennesaw State University and is further pursuing a career towards nursing.at Chamberlain University. Long-term she hopes to complete her BSN so that she can continue educating patients.