1.4 million Australians at any one time have PTSD. It is a reality that PTSD and trauma affect people from all walks of life, including:
- Military and ex-defence personnel
- Paramedics, nurses
anddoctors Fire fighters
- Construction workers
- Emergency Services
- Sexual assault and victims of torture
Symptoms of PTSD
DSM 5 lists four clusters of symptoms
- Re-experiencing the event — For example, spontaneous memories of the traumatic event, recurrent dreams related to it, flashbacks or other intense or prolonged psychological distress.
- Heightened arousal — For example, aggressive, reckless or self-destructive
behaviour, sleep disturbances, hyper-vigilance or related problems.
- Avoidance — For example, distressing memories, thoughts, feelings or external reminders of the event.
- Negative thoughts and mood or feelings — For example, feelings may vary from a persistent and distorted sense of blame of self or others to estrangement from others or markedly diminished interest in activities, to an inability to remember key aspects of the event.
Treatment for Trauma and PTSD
- Trauma-focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which includes cognitive behaviour therapies, imaginal exposure and in vivo exposure.
- Phased Treatment for Trauma
- Social and Behavioural Interventions
Duration and Intensity
Severity of PTSD depends on the duration and intensity of the stressors. Acute stress disorder lasts 3 days from exposure to trauma or traumatic stress. Adjustment disorder is behavioural and emotional changes and lasts about 3 months from exposure to traumatic stress. Small T is single incident trauma while Big T refers to complex or more than one incidents of trauma.
Research shows with therapy and building of resilience, the traumatic stressor reduces over time as people adapt to stress exposure. Also, recovery varies according to temperaments, coping resources
Comorbidity of PTSD
PTSD co-occurs with other disorders like depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. It can also