PTSD (or post-traumatic stress disorder) is a range of symptoms experienced after a traumatic event. The most common traumatic events experienced in Australia are the unexpected death of someone close to you, seeing someone badly injured or killed; unexpectedly seeing a dead body, a physical assault, or being in a life-threatening accident. As everyone responds to traumatic events differently, it is important to realise that not all people who experience trauma will develop PTSD.
Immediately following a traumatic event, it is very normal to experience strong emotions and effects such as difficulty concentrating or sleeping. PTSD is when these symptoms persist for a month or longer after the traumatic event.
Strategies to try now
A few approaches you may want to consider as you seek help for PTSD include:
Keeping socially active
Reducing alcohol and non-prescription drug intake
Getting a massage, breathing deeply or doing yoga
Doing things that give us a sense of pleasure and achievement
Expressing ourselves through writing, or another creative outlet
Being physically active
Adopting a pet
Speaking about difficulties we are having with someone we trust
Learning and practicing relaxation techniques
Practicing mindfulness, try the app below to get you started
Statistics tell us that women are more likely to experience PTSD than men and that genetics may play some role in determining who will develop this disorder. Not everyone who has PTSD has experienced a dangerous event though, some people may have PTSD after a friend or family member is hurt or traumatised.
While experiencing a trauma is the cause for the onset of PTSD, widespread anxiety and depression can follow. These ailments share symptoms and can occur at the same time as one another.
Life after PTSD
PTSD is often effectively managed in order to allow sufferers to restore a life of joy and normal functioning. The treatment of PTSD often involves a multi-pronged approach of education, psychological therapies and medication.
Further resources about the treatment of PTSD are listed below and Simone, our Client Services Manager, will also be able to assist you to see one of psychologists who specialise in assistance with PTSD.
How common is PTSD?
In Australia, PTSD affects 800,000 people and up to 10% of people will suffer with PTSD in their lifetime.
Getting Professional Help
Evidence based treatments make the biggest difference.
Effective treatments for PTSD include various medications and psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is focused upon identifying, understanding and modifying unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours that arise from, or are exacerbated by, traumatic experiences.
Talking with your GP is the best place to make a start. They can assist you to get help for yourself or someone you care about. After talking about your symptoms and the situation you are in, the GP will direct you to a psychologist near you who specialises in the area that you need.
Myths About PTSD
``Only soldiers get PTSD``
PTSD Myth 1
``Anyone who has experienced a trauma will eventually get PTSD``
PTSD Myth 2
``Strong people can manage trauma on their own and don’t need help``