(PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder FAQ's
PTSD or (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a psychiatric disorder which can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event or multiple events. Symptoms experienced can be psychological and somatic. Symptoms might include flashbacks, avoidant behaviour, negative alterations in thoughts and emotions as well as hyper or hypo-arousal.
Anybody of any age gender, race or age can develop PTSD symptoms. PTSD symptoms develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic experience. Traumatic experience might be a one of experience or multiple incidents over an extended period of time.
There are a number of factors which can increase the likelihood of developing PTSD symptoms after a trauma. These include the type of trauma experienced, your background and upbringing, education, family history of mental illness and gender. Learn more about the risk of developing PTSD. Please read our article on The Risk of Developing PTSD if you would like to learn more.
PTSD symptoms develop because we experience something too overwhelming for us to comprehend. Our brains are unable to process and integrate the experience. Because we have not processed the experience our bodies keep reacting to a perceived danger that has now passed.
PTSD symptoms include intrusion symptoms for example recurring memories and feelings as if the incident is still happening. Dissociation and experiencing flashbacks. Having to continuously avoid thoughts and feelings related to the event as well people and places that remind you of the incident. You might also experience negative alterations in thoughts and negative emotions. You might also experience aggression, self destructive behaviour, hyper or hypo-arousal as well as difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
For more information on PTSD symptoms please see out page: What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
We develop PTSD symptoms because the mind is unable to process the traumatic event we have experienced or witnessed. It responds as if the traumatic event is still taking place. The mind is unable to treat the trauma as a past event or memory. Likewise the body continues to respond as if the trauma is still happening by releasing stress hormones. Our nervous system gets stuck in overdrive. Our amazing defence system is throwing our mind and body out of homeostasis. The result is PTSD symptoms which are unpleasant and not relevant to our current experience.
PTSD symptoms do get better with treatment in most cases. EMDR or Eye Movement and Reprocessing Therapy enables our minds to process a traumatic event which then allows the mind and body to consider it as being in the past rather than a current experience. It enables the mind and body to heal naturally.
PTSD is a treatable psychological and somatic difficulty. There is lots of misleading information on PTSD treatment written on the web.
There are a number of approaches to treat PTSD. It is helpful if PTSD treatment takes place within the boundaries of a strong therapeutic relationship. Approaches include:
Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing Therapy. (EMDR),Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Psychotherapy for Complex PTSD and Trauma Focused CBT.
The leading evidence based treatment for PTSD is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy. (EMDR). We offer EMDR.
Somatic or body approaches include Somatic Experiencing, Trauma Release Exercises and Cranio-Sacral Therapy.
Helping a family loved one or friend who is suffering from PTSD can be a difficult. Intrusive PTSD symptoms can be extreme and out of context with the environment or current situation. The best way to help a person who has PTSD is to assist them in obtaining professional help.
Providing an empathetic non judgemental ear can help them feel supported. People suffering from PTSD often feel disconnected from their sense of self and other people. Helping them to maintain their close attachments is imperative for trauma recovery.
Living with PTSD symptoms means that your body and mind are still responding to a threat. The threat might be ongoing or in the past. The mind and body are out of homeostasis.
There are a number of things that you can do for yourself to mitigate PTSD symptoms. The first thing that you can do is get the right help. PTSD processing should be carried out with a trauma psychotherapist/EMDR practitioner. Getting professional help for PTSD is the quickest best route to getting better. We offer Psychotherapy and EMDR to assist you with PTSD symptoms.
Another thing you can do is put a good support network in place. This can be in the form of family or friends or a support group relevant to your difficulties. Examples might include a PTSD support group or fellowship for addiction. Examples might include CA, NA or AA.
If you are suffering from PTSD symptoms it might be tempting to isolate yourself. Maintaining meaningful connections and making new helpful connections will help mitigate trauma and PTSD symptoms.
PTSD can develop following the experience of a single event trauma, multiple traumas, witnessing a trauma or even hearing about a trauma. When trauma symptoms last for longer than four weeks they might be classed as PTSD.
According the the American Psychiatric Association PTSD affects 3.5% of the adult population in the US.