What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after any traumatic event. A traumatic event can be defined as an event where we can see that we are in danger, or where we witness other people dying or being injured; however, even hearing about an unexpected death or injury of a close friend or family member can lead to PTSD. Not everyone will develop PTSD after a traumatic event, but many will experience symptoms in the short term. However, around 1 in 3 people will experience continued symptoms and it is these who tend to be diagnosed as suffering with PTSD.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD will usually develop immediately after the traumatic event; however, in some cases (less than 15 per cent) the onset of symptoms may be delayed by weeks, months and sometimes even years. In PTSD there may be times where symptoms seem to slip into remission, which brings with it a false sense of security only to bring disappointment when symptoms return to the same initial level. The symptoms of PTSD can be separated into three main core symptoms and then other additional symptoms:
This can be in the sense of either flashbacks or nightmares, and can be so realistic that you actually feel as if you are reliving the traumatic experience. You not only experience the event again in your mind, but may also feel the emotional and physical sensations associated with the event again, such as smell, fear and even pain.
This occurs when it is too upsetting to relive the experience over and over, therefore you distract yourself by avoiding anything, anyone or anywhere that reminds you of the trauma.
· Hyper vigilance.
This is known as constantly ‘being on guard’; you find that you cannot relax at all and are constantly alert and on the lookout for danger. You may find it particularly difficult to sleep, and other people may notice your jumpiness and irritable state. Other symptoms:
· Substance and alcohol misuse
· Physical symptoms such as sweating, headaches, dizziness, shaking, chest pain and stomach upset.
How can I help you to overcome your PTSD?
As a trained PTSD counsellor/psychotherapist I can help you to explore your problems through listening and suggesting ideas for improvement. Using CBT approach I will teaches you the skills to change your thoughts, emotions and negative thought processes you might have developed after a traumatic event. Trauma-focused CBT uses mental images of the traumatic event to help you gain control of your distress. You are likely to have between 8 and 12 sessions of CBT to deal with the symptoms of PTSD. You may be offered CBT if you have severe symptoms of PTSD which develop within one month of a traumatic event, or you still have PTSD symptoms within three months of a traumatic event.
Copyright Dr. Nazee Akbari. All rights reserved.