Page written and resources collated by Andi Baker, Senior Wellbeing Practitioner
This is a disorder that can develop after someone has been directly involved in or has witnessed a traumatic event such as actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual abuse. Events can include road traffic accidents, violent personal assault, childbirth experiences or experiences in war zones.
What is it?
Common symptoms are:
- re-experiencing of the event through flashbacks, nightmares, sounds, smells or sensations which trigger a sense of being back at the event.
- psychological alertness linked to the fight/flight response resulting in feeling on edge, difficulties sleeping and concentrating and resulting in irritability.
- avoidance of reminders of the event and attempts to block it out.
- changes in emotions with difficulties experiencing positive emotions.
- changes in beliefs about self and others.
The above symptoms occurring and month or more after the traumatic event. It is thought that post-traumatic stress disorder is a result of changes in the brain following a traumatic event and difficulties in processing what has happened.
If you think that you have PTSD you should go and speak to your GP. Your GP may suggest medication or psychological treatments which include:
- antidepressants to treat trauma.
- eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing.
- trauma focussed cognitive behavioural therapy.
- yoga and mindfulness techniques, art therapy and advice on sleep can also help.