What is posttraumatic stress or PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition. It is estimated to affect around 7.8% of the population. The disorder affects people who have experienced exceptionally threatening or distressing events. These stressful events are often characterised by involving a perceived threat to life or personal injury. Examples of traumatic experiences that can lead to PTSD are sexual abuse, military combat, serious road accidents or being held hostage. War veterans from the First World War who had witnessed harrowing atrocities were sometimes said to be suffering from shell shock, this is the condition that today we call PTSD.
It is important to understand that not everyone who experiences these traumatic events will go on to develop PTSD. Someone who suffers from PTSD might relive the traumatic event in the form of flashbacks or nightmares. The symptoms can develop between one month and years after the traumatic episode. Sometimes the sufferer may feel very anxious as if they are constantly on-edge almost as if they are stuck in the traumatic moment as if it is happening now.
The most common form of treatment for PTSD are Psychotherapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and Antidepressants. Commonly, a combination of these treatment methods is used. PTSD can be successfully treated even if the treatment is many years after the original trauma, so it is never too late to start treatment.
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