Post traumatic stress disorder
When people see the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), many associate this with the armed forces or war veterans. PTSD was indeed first recognised in soldiers when they came back from conflicts around the world, but today PTSD can be diagnosed in anyone who suffers trauma.
When someone experiences a traumatic event in their lives, such as a sudden death in the family or when witnessing a serious accident, they will often feel numb or they have sleep disruption for a few weeks. Most people will find these symptoms disappear within a month. However, when symptoms linger, PTSD may be the problem.
GPs often categorise PTSD as mild, moderate or severe, depending on the symptoms and how they are impacting the patient's life. Regardless of the type of PTSD, it is important to seek help.
Different people will react differently when faced with trauma. Some have very high thresholds while others will experience symptoms soon after the event.
Events that can trigger PTSD
Traumatic events in life are unfortunately all too common. The sudden death of a close family member or a close friend can be extremely disturbing. So too can accidents or fatalities at work. Being involved in a car accident or witnessing a serious accident can often bring on delayed-onset PTSD.
Here are some common triggers:
Therapies for PTSD
Trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) is a popular treatment for PTSD. Adapted from CBT, this technique aims to help those who have experienced trauma to learn how to manage their emotions and feelings towards the trauma.
The technique begins by teaching the client about trauma and how it affects the human brain. This first phase is known as 'stabilisation;. The next phase is to recreate the trauma in a controlled way, allowing the client to identify their emotions and feelings as they re-live the event. The outcome from this approach can be extremely positive.
The final phase of TF-CBT consolidates the learnings while continuing to build coping strategies.
A simple questionnaire
People who suffer from PTSD need to be carefully diagnosed by a doctor or therapist. If you are in doubt, seek professional help.
If you have experienced a traumatic event in the past six months, the following questionnaire can help determine whether you might be suffering from PTSD, or you are at risk from the illness.
For each of the 22 questions, rate the answer as either:
Total up the answers and if the score should be between 0 and 88. If the score comes out higher than 24, PTSD may be a concern. A score exceeding 37 indicates that PTSD is probable and help should be sought.
During the last seven days......
witnessing a crime
anxiety and stress