PTSD- What is it?

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Meaning: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.

About 25% of people who are exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD.  As well as being very upsetting, the symptoms interfere with the person’s ability to carry on their everyday life, work and relationships. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is identified by three main groups of symptoms:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event through intrusive memories or nightmares. As well as strong emotions, there may be physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic attacks.
  • Feeling emotionally numb and avoiding situations that are reminders of the trauma. Avoiding possible reminders of the trauma can cause someone to lose interest in day-to-day activities and become detached from friends and family. Some people experience ‘dissociation’ – a feeling of watching from a distance as events unfold.
  • Feeling anxious and ‘jumpy’ for no reason. Heightened vigilance can mean the affected person is constantly on the lookout for danger, possibly leading to irritability and a lack of concentration.

Someone who has experienced a traumatic event may sometimes feel that they have ‘got over’ it, until they are confronted with a reminder that triggers symptoms again. Those affected may also develop other anxiety disorders (such as phobias or social anxiety), depression, or problems with alcohol and drug use.  These conditions can be present at the same time as the PTSD, and require additional treatment.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can have a huge impact on relationships, so living in a house hold with someone who is suffering PTSD can in itself be overwhelming and unpredictable.  Post-traumatic stress disorder has a direct impact on the family unit, so reaching out and asking for support and help is a must.

Signs & Symptoms

Have you experienced or seen something that involved death, injury, torture or abuse and felt very scared or helpless?

Have you then experienced any of the following:

  • upsetting memories, flashbacks or dreams of the event?
  • feeling physically and psychologically distressed when something reminds you of the event

If you answered yes to all of these questions, have you also experienced at least two of the following:

  • had trouble remembering important parts of the event
  • had very negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world
  • persistently blamed yourself or others for what happened
  • persistently felt negative, angry, guilty or ashamed
  • felt less interested in doing things you used to enjoy
  • feeling cut off from others
  • had trouble feeling positive emotions (e.g. love or excitement)

And have you experienced at least two of the following:

  • had difficulties sleeping (e.g. had bad dreams, or found it hard to fall or stay asleep)
  • felt easily angered or irritated
  • engaged in reckless or self-destructive behaviour
  • had trouble concentrating
  • felt on guard or vigilant
  • been easily startled?

If all these things have been happening for a month or more, you may be experiencing post traumatic stress disorder.

In Australia, there are over 80,000 full time emergency workers who perform a vital role in protecting and providing emergency assistance to other citizens.  As a result of their work, emergency workers are regularly exposed to potentially traumatic experiences. 

There is clear evidence that emergency workers have higher rates of PTSD symptoms than the general population and that for many emergency workers, these symptoms are causing significant distress and functional problems.

 

 

If you feel that you or someone you love may have PTSD treatment is paramount.

I personally adopted a holistic approach to the treatment of my PTSD, which means I focused on treating and developing myself as a whole person.  Think of it as different levels;

  • physical,
  • emotional,
  • mental and
  • spiritual.  

I embraced the concept that the human being is multi-dimensional.  We have conscious and unconscious aspects, rational and irrational and through adopting this holistic approach I have made great progress.  If it doesn't sound like something you would do, I get that.  It didn't seem like me either before I needed it.  When you find that it works, you don't care if it sounds like you or not.  

Click here to contact me and fill you in on how I did it, or just have a read through the blogs and inspire yourself.

If you reside in Australia and qualify for Medicare, you will be eligible for a Medicare rebate for up to 10 consultations from a mental health professional via a 'Mental Health Care Plan' which you get from your local GP.  

Click here to find out more about Mental Health Care Plans