What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

About a third (31.4%) of adults in England report having experienced at least one traumatic event in their life. Traumatic events can be defined as experiences that either put a person or someone emotionally close to them at risk of serious harm or death, like a major natural disaster, a serious car accident, being raped, or the death of a loved one.

As an example, in the case of acts of terrorism I have worked with ordinary people who have faced incomprehensibly traumatic events and who have had little or no help in building the psychological framework to seek help. Without the correct help, individuals who experience such trauma may go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. This is a severe and disabling condition characterised by flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance and emotional numbing with hyper-vigilance. What everyone should know if that you can recover, PTSD is treatable.

Feelings of isolation and detachment, estrangement from friends and family and a significant loss of interest in participation with others are clear signs that something important is unprocessed and unresolved. Unfortunately these unhelpful feelings can often mean finding the strength to seek help becomes harder and harder. This problem can be exacerbated by to the ongoing stigma associated with seeking help, meaning those who are suffering can go for years without receiving the treatment they need.

Thankfully the stigma surrounding seeking help is being combatted and available help is becoming more widespread. The more we become aware of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the more we can reach out and offer people effective psychological therapy and, ultimately, a way out. If you or anyone you know is concerned you may be suffering from PTSD please do reach out as soon as possible, we’d be happy to discuss your options with absolutely no obligation.

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