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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What exactly is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

 

If you have personally experienced or witnessed a terrifying event, one that is life-threatening and beyond your control, then you could develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

The term PTSD was originally created to diagnose the psychological effect of war on soldiers (before that “shell shock syndrome” was used). However, all kinds of traumatic incidents, from rape to car accidents and natural disasters, can bring on PTSD.

 

Most people who have suffered from a traumatic experience will process the difficult emotions and memories, and improve over time – this is known as an Acute Stress Reaction. However, for some, the symptoms do not lift – they increase instead.

 

When this happens the person is still in psychological shock and over the following weeks and months, and maybe even years, will find it more and more difficult to cope with everyday life.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

 

It is not always easy to spot PTSD symptoms as they can emerge gradually. Equally, they can be triggered by a reminder of the event (maybe a noise or a smell) or they can suddenly rise up out of the blue when you least expect it.

 

Symptoms of PTSD include:

 

  1. Re-living the event
    This can happen through distressing memories, flashbacks, nightmares or a strong physical reaction to anything that reminds you of the event, such as sweating or a pounding heart. Flashbacks can be highly intense and make you believe that the event is happening all over again.
  2. Avoiding reminders
    A loss of interest in life and avoiding anything (places, feelings and activities) that serves as a reminder of the traumatic incident are common in PTSD sufferers. Emotions that relate to this avoidance include feelings of numbness or detachment, guilt and depression. Some experience an inability to feel certain emotions, such as happiness.
  1. Emotional anxiety
    Negative feelings towards people, even loved ones, difficulty concentrating and trouble falling asleep are all typical in those with PTSD. Suicidal thoughts, anger and irritability are also common.

 

In order to cope with the symptoms of PTSD, many will lean on drugs or alcohol to alleviate their pain or to try and gain control over their feelings. Unfortunately, substance abuse in this case creates a highly complicated dual diagnosis where the root causes of PTSD must be dealt in combination with drug or alcohol addiction therapy.

 

At Red Umbrella, we can help you find the right treatment for your particular combination of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

What kind of therapy will treat PTSD?

 

There are five basic forms of therapy that be used to treat those with PTSD. These are:

 

  1. Cognitive therapy – this enables patients to alter destructive thought patterns and behaviours.
  2. Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) – this helps to process distressing and traumatic memories.
  1. Exposure therapy – this helps the patient face upsetting memories and learn how to deal with them.
  2. Medication – this can alleviate PTSD symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
  3. Support groups – these enable PTSD suffers to share their feelings and gain invaluable support from a network of individuals experiencing similar issues.

How we can help you treat PTSD

 

At Red Umbrella, our advice and experience will enable you to find the right treatment for PTSD. Our team have worked at and been in clinics that really can help with PTSD issues, and will ensure that you make the right recovery choice.

Call us now on +44 (0)300 002 0061, or send us a message through live chat, so that we can advise you on integrated treatment programmes for your unique set of PTSD symptoms.