What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
According to American Psychiatry Association (APA), Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault. Some early symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder include anxiety, hallucinations and flashbacks of the incident.
Who can suffer from PTSD?
PTSD can occur in all people, irrespective of the race, ethnicity, age and gender. We see infants, toddlers, school going children, teenagers, young men and women as well as middle-aged people and even those in the twilight years of their life suffering from PTSD.
What are the Warning Signs of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?
There are some early warning signs of PTSD, which are well covered in this infographic, created originally by Alive and Well.
People with PTSD continue to have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings of their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.
I see these symptoms daily in my clients suffering from trauma. They continuously relive the event and suffer because of it.
What treatments are available for PTSD?
A proper psychotherapeutic approach is designed for our clients, taking into account their symptoms, intelligence and treatment goals. These may involve, Trauma-focused CBT, Grounding Techniques, Exposure Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Relaxation Techniques. With proper treatment, we are able to help our clients overcome the trauma of the event and return back to normal life.
For your convenience, we include a short video explaining Trauma-focused CBT.
In case you don’t have time to watch the video, here is a picture that explains this process briefly. The picture has been taken from a blog on PTSD and evidence-based therapies.
Grounding techniques are well explained in this video.
When do clients start suffering from PTSD?
We find that clients develop PTSD after traumatic life-threatening situations such as armed robbery, criminal attacks, terrorist attacks, road accidents, workplace accidents, domestic violence, interpersonal violence, natural calamities like bushfire, earthquake, being threatened with weapons, etc.
How can family of PTSD Victims Help?
We also find that family members of clients suffering from PTSD, expect them to forget the incident and get on with their life. Easily wished for, it is very hard for anyone suffering from PTSD to easily come out of it. Without proper treatment, they keep suffering and it effects their friends and family too.
Why do family members need to be involved in PTSD therapy?
Our clients experiencing PTSD, often find it hard to live life as they previously used to. They also feel that their family is unable to understand what they are going through. They tend to short-tempered, restless, jumpy and detached. For this reason, we involve family members in the therapy to help them understand the reasons behind the suffering of the client. It also helps to learn skills to contribute to the recovery of our clients. During the therapy sessions, our clients learn effective coping skills and grounding skills to help alleviate their anxiety and negative thought patterns.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can wreck havoc in the life of people suffering from it. However, when properly treated using the right set of psychotherapies, clients find that they can return back to normal life. So if you would like to help somebody who is suffering from PTSD, please refer them to our practice. Our team of psychologists are well trained in the psychotherapies that help in the treatment of PTSD.