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What is it?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating anxiety condition which is sparked by a distressing event in a person’s life. It poses a very real problem to the sufferer who can’t simply ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’ as the event relives through nightmares and unwanted flashbacks, appearing at inappropriate times.
Exposure to a scary event such as sexual assault, witnessing a death, physical or emotional abuse, torture, imprisonment, war, loss, diagnosis of a terminal illness, or other events beyond the control of the person may result in PTSD.
PTSD can be experienced at any point in a person’s life, even months after the event occurred.
What Does It Feel Like?
It is much more than just ‘stress’. You can’t shut it off or walk away from a repeating mental nightmare. Whereas a stressful situation may be uncomfortable and dissipate eventually, PTSD is like having someone repeatedly jump at you. Your body is on high alert waiting for that memory to be triggered by something or someone. You fear reliving it again, you isolate yourself from others for protection and persistently keep your guard up.
You can also experience unusual physical reactions like digestion problems, yawning even when not tired, aches and pains, ringing ears, scarring and bruising easily.
Other symptoms of PTSD include, but not limited to – feeling emotionally numb, feelings of depression, mood swings, drug or alcohol dependency, difficulty being alone, a need to stay busy, irritable and eating more or less than is normal for you.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Self-diagnosis through your own symptoms is often the quickest way to a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. If it has been more than 6 weeks post-event and your symptoms are not lifting speak to your GP.
What Treatments Are Available?
Therapy is often the best solution for those with mental health issues to help get to the root of the problem. Talking therapies like trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (TF-CBT) are specifically adapted for those with PTSD.
For those also suffering from sleep related issues or depression, medication may be issued by your Doctor.
What is it like for you to live with PTSD?
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PRODUCED JANUARY 2018 UPDATED JULY 2018,
REVIEW DATE JANUARY 2019