5 Signs Of PTSD

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

Often associated with soldiers, PTSD can strike anyone following a serious incident or trauma that they have experienced in their lives. Every day, we are subject to a variety of experiences and many people may become overwhelmed, frightened or beyond control. This could be a result of being in or even witnessing a crash, assault or worse. Statistically, the police, fire brigade or ambulance workers are more likely to witness these experiences, since it’s part of their job. Many can suffer repercussions from these stressful and traumatic experiences months or even years later.

Many people witness traumatic events and carry painful memories around with them. Sometimes PTSD can be undetected for years; given its similarities to related mental health issues, such as anxiety disorders and stress disorders. If you have been involved in or witnessed a serious trauma and are displaying the following characteristics, it may be worth checking for PTSD.

1  You suffer flashbacks

You re-live the event multiple times. This could happen either as a ‘flashback’ during the daytime or as nightmares when you’re asleep. At times flashbacks are so realistic, you really believe it to be reliving what happened. Not only can you see it in your mind, but you might feel the emotions and physical sensations you felt at the time. e.g. fear, sweating, smells, sounds, pain.

Ordinary things can trigger flashbacks. For instance, if you witnessed a fatal car crash in the rain, a rainy day could lead to a flashback. CBT counselling therapy is particularly effective at dealing with this symptom of PTSD.

2  You feel depressed or exhausted

Of course, many of us feel this way at some point in our lives. But if your depression is pervasive or if you have been more tired since the event happened, it’s a possible symptom of PTSD. You may have previously exhibited different character traits that have been altered as a result of the event.

3  You experience emotional numbness

By way of avoiding the painful memories associated with the traumatic event or experience, your mind can teach itself to divert away from feeling too emotional about things. Even when you know you ‘should’ or ‘would normally’ feel upset by something, it fails to invoke a response from you. Counselling can be an effective way of reconnecting you with your emotions.

4  You avoid people, places or items associated with the trauma

For example if you were part of a serious car accident, you may feel unable to get inside a car, or if you witnessed a fatal injury outside a local shop, you may avoid walking down that road. These are strategies or brain uses in order to make us think about the trauma less. However, in time, these kinds of reactions can really dominate our lives. Addressing your PTSD will empower you to regain control over your life.

5  You have difficulty relaxing

Even when trying to sleep, you may stay constantly, as if you are looking out for danger. You can’t relax and will often find excuses to keep busy. This type of reaction is called ‘hypervigilance’. You feel anxious and may find it difficult to sleep. It may lead to you being jumpy and irritable.

There are a range of therapies available to assist overcoming PTSD and allowing you to regain the control over your life, which may have been dominated by the event. If you think you identify with the above symptoms, please seek assistance today.

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