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Around 12% of Australians will experience PTSD in their lifetime.
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder happens when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event and does not recover from it. The results of this condition can last for months or years and people can relive these memories in conjunction with the physical and/or emotional reactions that accompany it as a result of various triggers.
People are at greater risk if the harm has been deliberate such as with physical or sexual assault or where the trauma is repeatedly experienced such as with armed forces, police force, paramedics, hospital staff, childhood abuse and similar.
PTSD has many symptoms and can include nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, heightened reactivity to stimuli as well as anxiety and depressive moods. Other symptoms include:
Behavioural: agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behaviour, or social isolation
Psychological: fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust
Mood: loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, or loneliness
Also Common: emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts
There are 4 stages of PTSD:
Impact or "Emergency" Stage - This phase happens immediately after the traumatic event. The traumatised person struggles to come to terms with the shock of what has occurred and will be highly anxious, hypervigilant and may be dealing with feelings of guilt.
Denial Stage - This phase does not happen to everyone but for those who do they continue to experience strong feelings brought on by memories of the traumatic event, however, they try to avoid the difficult emotions that come with that, whether consciously or unconsciously. Some may turn to substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs.
Short-Term Recovery Stage - This is the phase where immediate solutions to problems are addressed and individuals attempt to adjust to everyday life and a sense of normalcy. At this point, individuals may either accept help from others or they may become disillusioned and somewhat cynical. At this point, nightmares and intrusive thoughts continue to make everyday life difficult.
Long-Term Recovery Stage - During this phase the individual continues to work through the after-effects of their trauma and the negative symptoms can be reduced and worked through for recovery to take place. People can expect to return to a calmer and more fulfilling life on the other side with professional support.
Effective treatment is available for PTSD through Counselling and a brief overview of therapies used is provided here.
Each counselling session is 50-60 minutes. Book an appointment here