If you are involved in or witness a traumatic event, it is common to experience upsetting, distressing or confusing feelings afterwards. These feelings may not emerge straight away – you may just feel emotionally numb at first (Shell Shock). After a while you may develop emotional and physical reactions, such as feeling easily irritated, upset or not being able to sleep properly.
This is understandable, a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. For many people these symptoms will disappear in a relatively short period of time. But if your problems last for longer than a month, or are very extreme, you may be given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
There’s no time scale for the onset, and some people may not develop post-traumatic symptoms until many years after the event. The symptoms of PTSD are variable from person to person, although you may experience some of the following.
- vivid flashbacks (feeling that the trauma is happening all over again)
- intrusive thoughts and images
- intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma
- Physical sensations, such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling.
- alertness feeling on edge, hyper vigilant
- avoidance of anything that reminds you of the event
- self-destructive behaviours, misuse of alcohol
How common is PTSD?
It is much more common in certain groups of people. For example, some studies have found that PTSD develops in about:
- 1 in 5 fire-fighters.
- 1 in 3 teenage survivors of car crashes.
- 1 in 2 female rape victims.
- 2 in 3 prisoners of war
The general population
- 5% of men and 10% of women are affected by Post Traumatic Stress at some time in their life and this can happen at any age.
- About 40% of people with Post Traumatic Stress develop it as a result of someone close to them suddenly dying.
How Can we help?
You will first need an assessment with one of our therapists. You will have an opportunity to talk about your difficulties and what your goals are. During your assessment you will be able to discuss treatment options with your therapist, where you may both decide on a therapy that is best suited to your needs. EMDR or CBT is a recommended and effective treatment.
The therapy and can support you to enable you to make positive changes via the telephone or in person.
To speak to someone in confidence for advice or to arrange an appointment please contact our team on Freephone 0800 230 0688