PTSD stands for Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition that occurs after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or was threatened. Examples of events that can lead to PTSD are accidents, physical assault, natural or unnatural disasters and military combat.
In a recent survey, 3 in 100 people in the UK screened positively for PTSD. Nevertheless it is still a condition that often goes undiagnosed. In the US it was widely spoken about in reference to the soldiers who returned from the Vietnam War. However any large war or conflict can lead to soldiers returning with PTSD. Less commonly talked about is the PTSD that can affect individuals in everyday life for example fire fighters, survivors of car crashes and victims of sexual and physical abuse, amongst others. Those who are most likely to suffer from PTSD according to research are: those who did not receive much support at the time of the traumatic incident, those who have experienced trauma in the past, and those with a mental health condition or a family history of mental illness.
PTSD is a very distressing condition that often goes untreated for a long time. This is because the symptoms are broad and could be symptomatic of other conditions such as a phobia, social anxiety or panic disorder. The good news however is that PTSD responds well to treatment once the diagnosis has been made and a suitable treatment plan has been formulated.
As well as the therapeutic interventions listed that we discuss in more detail below, research has identified certain actions that can promote the reduction of PTSD symptoms. These include: 1) any type of exercise that encourages body awareness such as yoga, Tai- Chi etc. 2) spending time in nature, 3) maintaining social relations 4) reconnecting with a sense of power and influence by joining a support group or volunteering, for example; 5) acts of self care such as eating a healthy balanced diet, adequate sleep, relaxation, avoidance of alcohol and drugs.
In your initial call with a trained therapist they will ask you questions in order to decide which therapeutic approach you should try. You may see a psychiatrist if the PTSD symptoms are affecting you severely and you require medication as part of your treatment plan. In addition to this you will be prescribed CBT, EMDR or a talking therapy in order to process your trauma. Once a trauma has been properly resolved, the PTSD symptoms disappear. We understand that for some of you the idea of talking about a traumatic event fills you with anxiety and fear and perhaps you have no wish to go over old ground. In this case your therapist would work on building up your inner resilience and support networks before you move on to process the trauma itself. We will always respect your wishes and any treatment plan is devised according to what you feel is best for you, advised by an experienced and expert practitioner. Any therapy you take part in is delivered at a pace that suits you with a practitioner who is a specialist in working with trauma.