What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition and anxiety disorder caused by incredibly stressful, frightening, or distressing events. (PTSD), once called shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which there was serious physical harm or threat. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability, and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult. These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.
Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into four main categories, including:
- Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
- Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind them of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
- Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling, or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhoea.
- Negative cognitions and mood: This refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event.
Causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause PTSD.
These can include:
- Serious road accidents
- Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
- Serious health problems
- Childbirth experiences
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.
PTSD is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it’s not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others do not.
How post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is treated
PTSD can be successfully treated, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event.
Any treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and how soon they occur after the traumatic event.
Any of the following treatment options may be recommended:
- Watchful waiting – monitoring your symptoms to see whether they improve or get worse without treatment
- Antidepressants – such as paroxetine or mirtazapine
- Psychological therapies – such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
How can I Straker Consultants help you?
I Straker Consultants specialise in treating all aspects of severe and enduring mental health, and as such have significant experience in successfully treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By taking the first step in seeking private treatment for PTSD, you are already closer to remedying an horrendous mental health issue that can make everyday life incredibly difficult to manage. Using one of our experienced PTSD therapists, I Straker Consultants are in a good position to help you gain back control of your life.