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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Trauma and Abuse

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Trauma and Abuse

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (sometimes called PTSD) is a form of anxiety disorder. Some people develop this condition after they have experienced a traumatic event. This event might be a serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or a natural disaster such as a bushfire or a flood. Strong reactions such as fear, horror, anger, sadness and hopelessness are natural after events like these, of course. In most cases, these feelings will pass after the normal working-through of emotions and talking things over in your own time with family, friends or colleagues.

When these feelings are intensely distressing and go on for more than four weeks, however, it is important to ask for help from a doctor or other health professional, as they may be symptoms of a more persistent condition such as PTSD. About 25% of people who are exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD. As well as being very upsetting, the symptoms interfere with the person's ability to carry on their everyday life, work and relationships. Treatment helps deal with the symptoms so that people are able to get on with their life again.

What are the symptoms?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is identified by three main groups of symptoms:

  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event through intrusive memories or nightmares.
    As well as strong emotions, there may be physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic attacks.
  • Feeling emotionally numb and avoiding situations that are reminders of the trauma.
    Avoiding possible reminders of the trauma can cause someone to lose interest in day-to-day activities and become detached from friends and family. Some people experience 'dissociation' –  a feeling of watching from a distance as events unfold.
  • Feeling anxious and 'jumpy' for no reason.
    Heightened vigilance can mean the affected person is constantly on the lookout for danger, possibly leading to irritability and a lack of concentration.

Someone who has experienced a traumatic event may sometimes feel that they have 'got over' it, until they are confronted with a reminder that triggers symptoms again. Those affected may also develop other anxiety disorders (such as phobias or social anxiety), depression, or problems with alcohol and drug use. These conditions can be present at the same time as the PTSD, and require additional treatment.

Source: Sane Australia www.sane.org

Treating Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at Sovereignty Counselling

Your clinician at Sovereignty counselling will conduct a thorough assessment to determine the type and severity of your condition. We will then work with you to develop an individualised treatment plan.  We can help you to gain control of your symptoms so that past traumas no longer dominate your life.

Based on your assessment and treatment plan, your clinician may offer you one or more of the following scientifically verified interventions:

  • Trauma focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness and relaxation therapy
  • Skills Training
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling

To find out more or to seek treatment for anxiety, please contact us.