What is PTSD?
PTSD is a form of anxiety disorder that manifests as a result of a distressing, stressful or frightening event. Some examples of events that may trigger PTSD symptoms include: road traffic accident, personal assault, health problems and childbirth. While these are recognised as common triggers, there is no pre-determined list of experiences that do and do not “qualify” as events associated with the onset of PTSD.
Who experiences PTSD?
Around 1 in 3 people who have experienced a traumatic incident will go on to develop PTSD and while for some symptoms appear immediately after the experience, for some it take months, or even years, to develop.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Like all mental illnesses, PTSD can affect different people in different ways. This being said, some of the most common symptoms experienced by those with PTSD can be split into 4 categories:
Re-experiencing– involuntary reliving the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive images/sensations and/or physical sensations (e.g. pain, sweating, nausea, shaking).
Avoidance/Emotional numbing– avoidance of certain places, people or activities that may remind that individual of the trauma they experienced. This may be achieved by excessively working or participating in hobbies or alternatively, it may be achieved by withdrawing from their former lives, making that individual isolated.
Hyperarousal– this essentially means that the individual will find it difficult to relax. This can present as irritability, anger, insomnia and difficulty concentrating.
PTSD is also heavily linked to other mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, phobias and addiction. Addiction will often involve self-destructive behaviours like alcohol and drug abuse.
What is the difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD?
Complex PTSD is experienced when an individual has been repeatedly exposed to traumatic events like violence, neglect or abuse. Children who have experienced abuse are particularly vulnerable to complex PTSD and unfortunately, symptoms are often not detected until later in life.
How can I help someone who is struggling with PTSD?
Due to the nature of the condition, people with PTSD often find it hard to trust other people. Being supportive is incredibly important and while it may be difficult, if symptoms like anger or irritability present, try to separate them from the person in front of you. Just like a person with a cold can’t help sneezing, these outbursts are often purely a symptom of the illness. If you or someone you love is struggling with PTSD of any kind, please reach out to someone and seek help. The team at Dr Julian are always available to help.
No one should struggle in silence. Talk to someone. Talk to us.
If you or anyone you know struggles with PTSD and you feel we could add more information to this factsheet or that we got something wrong, please feel free to message us on facebook or Instagram so we can make sure we’re providing people with the best information possible!