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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a distressing or terrifying event, in which the uncontrollable recollection of the event intrudes on your life and interferes with daily functioning. This can take many forms, from flashbacks and nightmares to changes in mood or behavior. It's often associated with combat experience, but can occur to anyone who has experienced trauma.
A note of caution: this article discusses situations or events that people with PTSD, as well as other trauma or stress disorders, may find triggering. It makes reference not just to the symptoms of PTSD, but specific types of traumatic events that often serve as causes for the condition. Survivors of trauma, please be advised that this material may prove upsetting.
Identifying PTSD symptoms and triggers for trauma is a complex task. Symptoms are categorized into four basic types:
These aspects of PTSD can appear in many different ways. Increased arousal, for instance, can manifest with sleep disorders, hypervigilance, reckless or self-destructive behavior, aggressiveness, or multiple traits in this realm. Negative mood changes can include social withdrawal, memory loss, detached or estranged feelings, persistent negative feelings, distorted blame towards oneself or others about the traumatic event, or many other instances of negativity or guilt.
We associate PTSD with warfare, and though many veterans experience trauma and its aftereffects, many other people live their lives with it:
The discrepancy between the amount of men and women who experience PTSD initially seems surprising, as about 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women have a traumatic event occur in their lives. Men are more likely to experience this as a physical assault, combat experience, disaster or accident, as well as a witness to one of these. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault or child sexual abuse.
Military veterans experience PTSD at a higher rate than civilians, with between 11 and 20 percent having PTSD during a given year among those who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. In addition, military sexual assault also plays a part in these PTSD statistics, as 23 percent of women who use VA health care reported a sexual assault in the military. 55 percent of women and 38 percent of men using VA health care reported experiencing sexual harassment while serving.
Marijuana use among veterans has risen for over a decade, at least among veterans who utilize VA health care. Daily use among the entire U.S. population has risen 60% over that same period, and the patterns mirror each other: many veterans use marijuana to treat PTSD, while many civilians use it for anxiety disorders. Although some states have authorized medical marijuana use to treat PTSD, there have not been sufficient studies to determine if cannabis is consistently effective for it. In addition, research suggests that marijuana dependence and addition rates increase for users with PTSD.
Although CBD's value in treating PTSD and other anxiety or stress disorders is still under review, evidence for its efficacy has been strong. In addition, cannabidiol (CBD) contains little to no THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, and in testing has continually shown itself to be well-tolerated by users.
Much of the research regarding CBD has been about anxiety disorders, where CBD exerts several actions in the brain that explain why it could be effective in treating anxiety. Anxiety and depression can sometimes be treated with SSRI medications such as Prozac and Zoloft that block reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, which increases availability of this important neurotransmitter. This helps brain cells transmit more serotonin signals, which can reduce anxiety and boost mood. Similar to these medications, CBD may boost signaling through serotonin receptors.
CBD's effectiveness in treating PTSD still merits further research, as many of the studies done so far have focused on social anxiety disorder or chronic depression. If you find these results encouraging, you can read more about the potential benefits of CBD at the official website for Emperor's Best, our new line of CBD products.
*Please consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before consuming or using these products, and do NOT stop any current medication without consulting a qualified medical professional.*