What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

what-is-ptsdIf you have experienced an event in which you believed that you were due to come to severe harm, some examples would be a road traffic accident, an assault in fact any life threatening experience in which you felt out of control can leave an individual with residual symptoms.

These symptoms can include:

  • A sense of general numbness and feeling of lack of involvement with the real world
  • Recurrent images and thoughts about the trauma (e.g. flashbacks)
  • Guilt about having survived (especially if others have not)
  • Avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event
  • Re-experiencing the trauma in dreams
  • An exaggerated startle response
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Younger people may show physical symptoms including stomach aches and headaches

What is the treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

The treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder aims to enable the individual to process the traumatic event so that it can be stored as a memory than no longer intrudes without warning into their day to day experiences but as one which that have a similar amount of control over as other less distressing memories. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), the organisation charged with the task by the government of reviewing and advising on the most effective treatments in healthcare, recommends the following approaches to this end:

  • For mild to moderate cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a course of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TFCBT) or Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR).
  • For severe cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a course of trauma focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

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