What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

There are a number of things that people see, hear and experience that can cause fear and a subsequent traumatic response. A traumatic experience can be anything from witnessing death, substantial physical harm, hearing about mass murder or directly experiencing abuse, injury or threat to one’s personal integrity.

PTSD is unique when compared to other emotional disorders, as part of its diagnosis, there needs to be an external event. In addition to a traumatic event, there are intrusive symptoms such as recurrent and distressing images and thoughts.

Additionally, a person suffering from PTSD will experience nightmares and flashbacks. As well as intense psychological distress or bodily activation such as shaking in response to trauma-related cues. PTSD patients will often avoid any reminders of the trauma; they will often experience memory problems, particularly accurately remembering the trauma and subsequently feel detached from others with diminished interest in daily activities and often a sense of foreshortened future.

Other symptoms of PTSD include; disruptions in sleep, concentration and focus are all part of the post traumatic stress diagnosis. Often PTSD sufferers are hypervigilant and are very irritable and angry about their experience. As many of the symptoms of PTSD are experiential and behavioural there are no formal tests to assess whether a person is experiencing PTSD, instead a number of these symptoms must be occurring for a minimum period of one month and they will be significantly affecting day to day activities.

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