PTSD & Trauma Related Problems
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety problem “caused” by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
The type of events that can cause PTSD include:
- Road Traffic Accidents
- Sexual Assaults
- Being Robbed or Mugged
- Violence Against Yourself
- Witnessing Death (violent death)
- Military Combat Experiences – used to be called “shell-shock”
- Experiencing Natural Disasters – Earthquakes, Major Floods etc.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop immediately following a disturbing event, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.
PTSD is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it’s not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others don’t, although this may be due to how “resilient” a person is to negative events in general.
However, not everybody who experiences trauma develops negative symptoms and surprisingly, research indicates that many people exposed to traumatic situations get positive benefits from the experience!
In these cases it is known as Post Traumatic Growth.
Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Someone with PTSD will often re-experience the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may also experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt (often “survivors guilt”)
They may also develop Sleep Disorders, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.
These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Pathology
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, in common with many other problems and conditions, is often made worse by “unhelpful thinking” traits or “distorted” belief systems. (The way we perceive the World around us).
The limiting beliefs associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may have been created by the actual traumatic experience that may have been “blown out of proportion” or indeed may be the result of “imagined experiences” which can lead to the same outcome – the experience of Anxiety related symptoms.
If we can learn how to manage these limiting beliefs or cognitive distortions using the tools and techniques contained in therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, then we can also learn how to control the emotional experiences that we have – ie. manage the symptoms.
It is also possible that people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may have some additional emotional or childhood trauma problems that are indirectly related to the problem itself but still create Anxiety and Stress which make the symptoms worse.