Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), previously known as combat stress or shell shock, can often be triggered after an individual experiences a severe trauma or a life-threatening event. Many individuals may experience a strong emotional response; for example: Intense fear, helplessness or horror. This often occurs immediately after or at the time of initial exposure and this is known as an "acute stress reaction."
In some cases PTSD symptoms can develop soon after, several months, or even years, after the trauma event. PTSD is more prominent in Individuals who may have experienced overwhelming or repeated exposure such as a: Severe accident, rape, a life-threatening incident, sexual or physical assault, torture, seeing someone killed, etc. Unfortunately, the small proportion of individuals who do develop the disorder are unlikely to seek help.
According to Helpguide.org, Sept 2018, the definition of PTSD are broken down into four clusters:
Recurrent, intrusive memories of the traumatic event; including distressing thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks where you feel like the event is happening again.
Experiencing extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the trauma; such as panic attacks, uncontrollable shaking, and heart palpitations.
Extreme avoidance of things that remind you of the traumatic event; including people, places, thoughts, or situations you associate with the bad memories. Withdrawing from friends and family and losing interest in everyday activities.
Negative changes in your thoughts and mood; such as exaggerated negative beliefs about yourself or the world and persistent feelings of fear, guilt, or shame. Diminished ability to experience positive emotions. Being on guard all the time, jumpy, and emotionally reactive, as indicated by irritability, anger, reckless behaviour, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, and hypervigilance.
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A UK survey of the general population in England found that 3 in 100 adults screened positive for PTSD. It is not surprising that PTSD can be found more prominent in certain groups of people:
You may need no treatment if your symptoms are mild to moderate, particularly if the trauma happened less than a month ago. However, if your symptoms are prolonged and moderate or severe, treatment can help you to adjust. If you have severe symptoms 4-6 weeks after the incident, you are likely to need treatment.
Note: some PTSD treatments mentioned below may not be easily accessible or immediately available on the NHS in every area.
Working with our experienced therapists can help you overcome your PTSD and regain control and get your life back on track.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing). Is internationally approved and successful Psychotherapy in which bilateral stimulation (such as eye movements) can help your nervous system become “unstuck” and move on from the traumatic event.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or counselling. This involves gradually “exposing” yourself to thoughts and feelings that remind you of the event. Therapy also involves identifying distorted and irrational thoughts about the event and replacing them with more balanced or realistic view.
Other forms of talking treatments such as anxiety management, counselling, group therapy and learning to relax may be advised.
Medication, such as antidepressants. While medication may help you feel less sad, worried, or on edge, it doesn't treat the causes of PTSD.
It is not unusual for serving personnel to have experienced multiple trauma's throughout their military career.
It is safe to say that military personnel who have deployed on operational tours are more than likely at risk of experiencing a trauma related event, like combat, terrorist attack, natural disaster or the loss of a comrade or civilian. Symptoms of military trauma can surface later on in life or even years after you return from operations. Early symptoms may include; feeling on edge, emotionally numb, guilt, disconnected, irritable or frightened and alone.
For many individual its normal for your brain and body to be in shock after such an event. Military personnel are often good at desensitising their response mechanisms. This is why their training includes virtual and combat related scenarios. However, If you have repeated exposure to trauma then over time these memories and physical reactions can get “stuck.”
If you have severe symptoms 4-6 weeks after the incident, you are likely to need to be assessed or have specialist treatment. Don't let PSTD destroy your life, contact our experienced therapist for a FREE 15min consultation and regain control of your life
We offer a wide range of evidence-based online therapy and treatments.