Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects millions of people across the UK, with an estimated 4 in 100 people suffering from it at any one time and a further 1 in 10 people going on to experience PTSD at some point in their lives – this includes children, women and men. According to PTSD UK, between 50-70% of people will experience a traumatic event in their lives and 20% of those, will go on to develop to develop the condition.
These numbers are staggering – shocking in fact. Although there has not been a huge amount of research in the past for trauma-related mental health issues, the UK is picking up the pace and recognising that this condition calls for serious attention.
PTSD affects people differently and can be caused by various experiences however, there are also types or forms of PTSD so getting an understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is important to begin to know what it is exactly that we are dealing with.
Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis
Once a diagnosis has been undertaken by a professional psychiatrist, it’s possible that the type of PTSD you may be experiencing falls into a category of severity; mild, moderate or severe – it’s important to note that these categories are not a reflection of the severity of the traumatic experience but more how the symptoms of PTSD are present during the time of diagnosis.
Quite often during a diagnosis, a medical professional may describe your category of PTSD into the following types:
- Birth Trauma – This is related to trauma experienced through childbirth for women and can consist of birth complications and still-deaths.
- Delayed-Onset PTSD – This type is when the trauma symptoms are experienced with a delay, usually after six months or more post-trauma.
- Complex PTSD – This type is complex and usually involves repeated and prolonged trauma experiences.
Complex PTSD is typically categorised as having a more extensive range of symptoms compared to other types of PTSD – let’s take a closer look at what that entails.
Complex PTSD or, CPTSD, is associated with persistent traumatic events such as childhood abuse and domestic violence – although this diagnosis has similar or shared symptoms as other types of PTSD, they are often linked to other symptoms of behaviour such as distrusting others and having emotional dysregulation.
This can lead to other complicated issues such as emotional detachment and feelings of self-worthlessness – for those struggling with these particular types of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorders, it’s crucial to get professional help as quickly as possible.
What causes PTSD?
As we’ve seen so far, people with PTSD experience trauma in some sort of way. Through their traumatic memories and feelings, thoughts arise causing a wide range of emotional symptoms including numbness and distress, anxiety, depression and a variety of other mental health conditions.
PTSD sufferers can acquire these symptoms by different means – everyone experiences trauma differently, whether through physical or psychological trauma, sometimes you only have to be a witness to something horrifying to be affected.
With that said, let’s take a look at some examples of what common causes may include:
- Combat and Military Trauma: Military personnel who have experienced combat situations or other traumatic events during their service can develop PTSD – this may include direct exposure to warfare, witnessing the injury or death of others, or being involved in life-threatening situations.
- Physical or Sexual Assault: Individuals who have been victims of physical or sexual assault, whether as children or adults, are at risk of developing PTSD which consequently, leaves lasting psychological and emotional scars.
- Natural Disasters: Surviving natural disasters like earthquakes, floods or wildfires can be highly distressing and lead to the development of PTSD. The loss of homes and belongings or simply witnessing the devastation can be traumatic.
- Serious Accidents: Being involved in or witnessing a severe accident such as a car crash can also influence the condition. The sudden and unexpected nature of such an event, coupled with potential injuries or loss of life can have a lasting impact.
- Childhood Abuse or Neglect: Children who experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as neglect, are vulnerable to developing serious symptoms – the ongoing trauma during their developmental years can have long-lasting effects on their mental health.
- Medical Trauma: Individuals who have undergone traumatic medical procedures such as major surgeries, intensive medical treatments, or experiences in intensive care units, may also be affected.
- Witnessing or Learning about Traumatic Events: It can also develop in individuals who have witnessed or learned about a traumatic event happening to someone close to them – this could include the sudden or violent death of a loved one or witnessing a loved one being seriously injured.
How Do I Know If I Have PTSD?
If you don’t have a PTSD diagnosis you may wonder how to tell if you have it – it can be extremely difficult to talk about thoughts and feelings associated with traumatic experiences however, it’s always best to consult a psychiatrist or a mental health professional who can assist you with a proper diagnosis.
For those that are not ready to open up just yet – here are some symptoms associated with this condition from individuals who have experienced a series of events around trauma.
It’s important to note that symptoms extend far and wide, affecting people differently – trauma is a vast topic and as diverse as it can get. With that said, the symptoms can be categorised into clusters as followed:
- Distressing and intrusive memories of the traumatic event
- Nightmares related to the trauma
- Flashbacks, feeling as if the event is happening again
- Intense psychological or physiological reactions when exposed to reminders of the trauma
- Distress or discomfort triggered by certain cues or situations resembling the traumatic event
- Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
- Avoidance of people, places, or activities that remind the person of the trauma
- Efforts to distract oneself or keep busy to avoid thinking about the traumatic event
- Loss of interest or participation in significant activities
- Detachment or estrangement from others, difficulty forming or maintaining close relationships
Negative Alterations in Cognition and Mood
- Persistent negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world
- Persistent negative emotions, such as fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
- Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Feeling detached from others and becoming emotionally numb
- Difficulty remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Alterations in Arousal and Reactivity
- Hypervigilance, feeling constantly on edge or on guard
- Irritability, outbursts of anger, or aggressive behaviour
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Problems with sleep, such as insomnia or disturbed sleep
- Exaggerated startle response
These symptoms are an indicator that something is not right however, they are subject to change and become either more severe or ease off slightly over time although, other mental health issues can arise if this condition is not dealt with properly.
It’s absolutely paramount that if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms it’s time to call for help – forms of trauma therapy may be necessary and even medication may be required in some cases, whatever the type of treatment is decided for you, PROMIS Rehab Clinic can help.
Let’s take a look at some of the treatment programmes available for treating PTSD.
Trauma Based CBT
This type of psychotherapy is designed specifically for trauma victims – opening up about traumatic experiences can be difficult as it forces the patient to relive the situation however, this combination of therapies merges two types together that have been proven to be effective in treating the condition.
Exposure therapy – This focuses on gradually talking about parts of the event of trauma within a safe environment where the therapist can conduct an initial assessment of your reactions to it, with the goal of confronting and reducing the symptoms that are associated with the trauma.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – This focuses on techniques to understand your thought processes around the trauma and to reprocess the way you behave towards them, ultimately changing the way you feel about the situation.
These treatments for PTSD often help you overcome negative feelings around the way you see yourself and help you to develop healthy coping techniques to deal with traumatic experiences you have lived through.
EDMR stands for eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing – this therapy consists of rapid and rhythmic eye movement exercises with a therapist while focusing on trauma-related images. This aims to help the negative thoughts and feelings associated with PTSD and trauma become more positive.
Group therapy sessions are conducted within a group setting with others that have shared or similar experiences – these sessions help relieve feelings of isolation that can help you overcome your trauma by talking through issues with others. They often help you understand your own thoughts around the trauma which can give you the ability to heal.
Medication for PTSD can be prescribed in some cases – especially for those who have serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorder.
Although it is always best to attempt some form of counselling first, psychologists may be able to offer paroxetine or antidepressants for those that have extreme symptoms however, the type of medication will depend on the individual.
Residential Treatment Centre
PROMIS offer residential treatment for those who also struggle with drug or alcohol addiction as part of their condition.
Far too often people suffering from PTSD will self-medicate with substances as a way of relieving their symptoms – this of course causes an array of further problems, such as addiction, and can be extremely difficult to control without the help or supervision of a rehab centre – if this is you, please call us today.
How PROMIS Treatment Centre Can Help
It’s estimated that as many as 100,000 new PTSD cases could happen within the next year – it’s imperative that we face this challenge today. The effects of PTSD can be severe and the growing numbers are worrying, to say the least – whether your symptoms are mild or severe, whether you’re diagnosed already or not, begin your journey to recovery with PROMIS and see how our treatment can help you.
We understand that taking the leap to ask for help is difficult however, we’re here to help – contact us today and relieve your symptoms with PROMIS.
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