What is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD?
I have been asked to do a little note on PTSD and its symptoms and causes. I have treated people with this problem over several years. The majority of my clients suffering from PTSD were caused by car crashes, violent crime, and injuries to other people. It’s completely natural to be afraid when you’re in danger. It’s also natural to be upset when something bad happens to you or someone you know. But if you feel afraid and upset weeks or months later, it’s time to talk with some one who will help; you might have post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a dangerous event, such as war, or bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over, affecting your life and the people around you. You don’t have to be physically hurt to get PTSD. You can get it after you see other people, such as a friend or family member get hurt. Living through or seeing something that’s upsetting and dangerous can cause PTSD.
This can include:
- Car accidents and plane crashes
- Being a victim of or seeing violence
- The death or serious illness of a loved one
- Violent crimes, like a robbery or shooting.
- War or combat
- Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires
There are many other things that can cause PTSD. Seek help if you are continually troubled by something that happened to you or someone you care about.
Ask for help if you have any of these problems:
- Flashbacks, or feeling like the scary event is happening again
- Scary thoughts you can’t control
- Staying away from places and things that remind you of what happened
- Bad dreams
- Feeling worried, guilty, or sad
- Feeling alone
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling on edge
- Angry outbursts
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
PTSD can happen to anyone at any age children get PTSD too; children who have PTSD may show other types of problems. These can include:
- Behaving like they did when they were younger
- Being unable to talk
- Complaining of stomach problems or headaches a lot
- Refusing to go places or play with friends.
PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening event and then continue; other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can be treated; health professionals that have experience in treating people with PTSD can help you. Treatment may include “talking” therapies, CBT, Counseling, Hypnotherapy etc treatment is not the same for everyone. What works for you might not work for someone else.
Case study: A female client was in a motorway car crash and had progressively become more apprehensive and anxious over a 2 year period. The crash was frightening when a large articulated lorry had slammed the car into the central barrier and then down a steep embankment. What really upset my client a 70 year old woman was that her grand daughter was in the car strapped into a child seat, they had to be cut out of the car by the emergency services. My client thought she was lucky she lived through it and she wasn’t badly hurt.
She felt fine for a while, but things changed. She started to have nightmares every night, and when she was awake, she could see the crash happening over and over in her mind. She felt tense every time she rode in a car, and tried to avoid it as much as she could, eventually she would not go out at all. She started yelling at her husband over little things and sometimes she just felt dead inside.
Her son asked me to see her because he was concerned about her deteriorating health. On meeting her and asking about her symptoms and feeling, it became clear that she was suffering from a form of PTSD. The initial meeting took 3 hours to obtain the information i.e. her emotional problems and the physical and mental manifestations. In this 3 hour session we cleared the majority of the problems; and a follow up 1 hour session in a week’s time was all that was needed.
This particular case was three years ago and she is now still driving her own car and back to her old self now of course aged 73. So yes you can be helped at any age to recover from a traumatic event.
- PTSD can affect anyone at any age.
- Millions of people get PTSD every year.
- Many war veterans have had PTSD.
- Women tend to get PTSD more often than men.
- PTSD can be treated. You can feel better.
I hope this explanation is of use.