Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Anyone of us can experience a traumatic event that is overwhelming, frightening, and beyond our control. Most people, in time, get over such experiences without needing help. However, for some the symptoms worsen over time, lasting for months or even years. This is likely Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A traumatic event could include: receiving bad news, losing someone you love in disturbing circumstances, witnessing extreme violence or war, physical or sexual assault, a traumatic childbirth, or even a serious accident, such as a car crash. Symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder do not always manifest immediately. They may start within weeks or months of a traumatic event, or even years later, and cause significant problems in your daily life.

You may also be more vulnerable to developing PTSD if you have experienced repeated trauma, have a history of depression or anxiety, work in a high-risk profession, are a refugee, or have suffered childhood abuse.

Recognising post-traumatic stress disorder: what are the symptoms?

While the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can vary from person to person, you may experience some of the following:

  • Vivid flashbacks
  • Nightmares or disturbed sleep
  • Severe distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
  • You avoid thinking about it, or situations that remind you of it
  • Use of alcohol or drugs to 'block out' memories
  • Self-destructive behaviour
  • Extreme alertness and feeling on edge - - can't sleep, feel anxious and can't relax
  • Suicidal thoughts

Receiving effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reducing symptoms and regaining control of your life and functioning.

Treating post-traumatic stress disorder: what are the options available?

There are different treatments available for PTSD. The right treatment for you will depend on the type of trauma you have sustained, the length of time you have been suffering with PTSD, as well as other lifestyle factors.

Psychotherapy treatments include:

  • Talking-based, trauma-focused, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
  • Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

While medication is not routinely offered as first-line treatment for PTSD, it may form part of your treatment plan if, for example, you are depressed, anxious, agitated, or not ready to commence talking-based treatments. The important thing is determining the right approach for your needs and circumstances.

If you would like to find out more about this subject, then please GetInTouch