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Conditions: Trauma/Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

What is PTSD?

Witnessing or being involved in an event or series of situations that are disturbing or harrowing in nature can cause psychological harm.

Exposure to such traumatic situations may then become seared into the mind and lead to the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is particularly common to experience PTSD-like symptoms if you’ve experienced or witnessed an event(s) that evoked helplessness and horror and involved actual or threatened death, serious injury or a physical threat to yourself or others.

People living with PTSD can become burdened by stress, fear, anxiety, or depression for weeks or start relying on drugs and alcohol to cope, for months or perhaps even years. Anyone who has been exposed to a traumatic event or events can suffer from it. These symptoms may appear immediately following the trauma and, at times, many months, or years afterwards.

If such a battle is fought silently, it can have a debilitating impact on your wellbeing. The world can subsequently seem like a hostile and confusing place and your personal life can be adversely affected too as a result.

Certain professions are associated with a high risk for the development of PTSD. High-risk professions or individuals in vulnerable roles are generally designated as professions that have significant proportions of individuals developing trauma-related difficulties due to the nature of their jobs that carry with them an intrinsic rick of psychological harm. These include military occupations, firefighters, police officers, emergency medical and ambulance personnel, first responders, journalists, or healthcare workers, for example.

When to seek help?

It would be important to consider treatment for PTSD when:

  • You experience flashbacks and nightmares (“intrusions”) about the trauma that make you feel as if you are relieving it

  • You are in a heightened state of tension or alarm, and you experience persistent fear and are easily startled (hyperarousal/hypervigilance)

  • If you avoid triggers, feel emotionally numb or you shun away from the people, places or situations that remind you of the ordeal

  • If you feel depressed and anxious and experience overwhelming feelings of anger, sadness, guilt or shame

  • If you are using drugs or alcohol to cope with your feelings

Treatment recommendations

Treatment would be individually tailored to your needs following a comprehensive assessment process in our service.

In general, trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) as well as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) are primary treatments or treatments of choice for PTSD, also recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence).

However, other treatments have also been found to be helpful in managing symptoms of PTSD such as group therapy, arts therapies, or Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

As trauma affects the body physically as well as psychologically, there is growing evidence to show that body-based therapies can also help people experiencing PTSD to ground themselves and regulate their emotions.

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