Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/ PTSD is a serious Anxiety disorder caused by frightening, distressing or stressful events. There are many causes for PTSD such as:
• Serious road accidents
• Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
• Serious health problems
• Childbirth experiences
There are many more possible reasons an individual may develop PTSD and will be unique to the individual. For some individual’s PTSD will be an immediate response to a situation, for other individuals it can develop years after the event occurred. PTSD is thought to effect one in three people who have had a traumatic experience in their lives. The NHS website say’s it is not clear why some people develop PTSD and others do not.
Complex PTSD can develop in people who have reported severe traumatic symptoms such as neglect, violence, or abuse. People with Complex PTSD can show the same signs and symptoms as PTSD although they may take longer to develop. The earlier the trauma occurred in the individual’s life the effects can be more severe.
People who have PTSD often relives the event through flashbacks, nightmares and may feel isolation, irritability, or guilt. This guilt could occur because of one person surviving a traumatic situation, yet their friend died. This could take the form of survivor’s guilt. People with PTSD may 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. I am sure that if PTSD was known about and understood at the time, many of the soldiers in both World Wars who were executed for desertion would have been treated for PTSD.
It is perfectly normal for people to feel upset after a traumatic experience and it is important to highlight that not every negative situation will not lead to PTSD. As mentioned earlier PTSD is believed to affect one out of three people. That means that two out of three people will not develop PTSD. If however you or somebody your care about are still struggling with a traumatic situation after roughly four weeks or if the symptoms get worse you should seek the advice of your GP and request referral to a Mental Health specialist.
PTSD can be treated with a variety of treatments such as:
• 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)
The subject of PTSD is too large to give justice to in a simple blog. If you would like to know more then click on the links below.