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Ariana Grande reveals struggle with PTSD: What to know about the disorder

"I don't think I'll ever know how to talk about it and not cry,” the singer said about the deadly concert bombing.
/ Source: TODAY

Singer Ariana Grande revealed this week she’s struggling with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder more than a year after a suicide bomber targeted one of her concerts.

The aftermath was gruesome: 22 people, including children, were killed in the attack at Britain's Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017; dozens were wounded.

The pop star recently called the anniversary a "challenging day":

“It's hard to talk about because so many people have suffered such severe, tremendous loss. But, yeah, it's a real thing,” Grande told British Vogue.

“I know those families and my fans, and everyone there experienced a tremendous amount of it as well. Time is the biggest thing. I feel like I shouldn't even be talking about my own experience — like I shouldn't even say anything. I don't think I'll ever know how to talk about it and not cry.”

What is PTSD?

PTSD can strike people who have experienced a shocking, frightening or dangerous event, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That may include going through or witnessing combat, a natural disaster, a car accident or an assault. The unexpected death of a loved one can also trigger the disorder.

It's normal to have upsetting memories or feel jittery after a traumatic event, but most people start to recover after a few weeks or months, the National Center for PTSD noted. For some, the trauma lingers: They may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

If the symptoms continue for more than a month and interfere with a person’s ability to function, he or she may have PTSD. About 7-8 percent of the U.S. population will experience the disorder at some point in their lives, with women more likely to develop it than men.

What are the symptoms?

The disorder’s warning signs include:

Re-experiencing: having flashbacks, bad dreams or frightening thoughts

Avoidance: staying away from any place that serves as a reminder of the traumatic event, or avoiding thoughts or feelings related to it.

Hyper-arousal and reactivity: being easily startled, feeling angry or on edge, not sleeping well.

Cognition and mood problems: having trouble remembering the traumatic event, being plagued by negative thoughts, feeling guilt or blame, losing interest in enjoyable activities.

Symptoms usually begin within three months of the incident, but can sometimes first show up years afterwards.

How is PTSD treated?

Trauma-focused psychotherapy is the most effective treatment, according to the National Center for PTSD. This type of counseling focuses on the memory of the traumatic event. Medications, including antidepressants, can also be used to help patients control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb.

Some people can feel better within months, while others take much longer to recover. For some, PTSD may become chronic.

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