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    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

    It is normal to be affected by traumatic experiences. Victims of trauma might feel shocked, scared, guilty, ashamed, angry, or vulnerable. For people with PTSD, the effects of trauma last for much longer.

    Symptoms?

    Re-experiencing symptoms: Re-experiencing memories of the trauma means that memories of the events play over and over in your mind. You might see images of what happened, sounds, smells, taste etc. Emotions can also be re-experienced and feel as if the events are happening again. Symptoms include:

    Nightmare about the event

    Feeling physical reactions in your body when you remember the event

    Upsetting memories of the event intruding into your mind

    Arousal symptoms: It is common to be ‘on edge’ or ‘on guard’ following a trauma. You might find it difficult to relax or find that your sleep is affected. Symptoms include:

    Always looking out for danger (hypervigilance)

    Feeling ‘on edge’ or easily startled

    Difficulty falling or staying asleep

    Problems concentrating

    Avoidance Symptoms: A normal human way of dealing with pain is to AVOID and distract ourselves. You might try to avoid people, places, or anything that might remind you of the event. Symptoms include:

    Avoiding reminders of the trauma

    Trying not to talk or think about what happened

    Feeling ‘numb’ or like you have no feelings

    Negative thoughts and mood: Trauma has a powerful effect on how we think. You might blame yourself for what happened, even if it was not your fault. Symptoms include:

    Negative thoughts about yourself

    A sense of guilt

    Feeling depressed or withdrawn

    Feelings that no one can be trusted

    Recognizing PTSD

    What might go through your mind:

    Intrusive memories (flashbacks) of the trauma

    Thoughts that the trauma is happening again right now

    Thoughts that what happened was your fault or that you could have prevented it

    Thoughts that you are going mad

    Images in your mind of what happened or what might happen.

    What you might feel:

    Scared

    Angry

    Terrified

    Humiliating

    Ashamed

    Disgusted

    Any emotions that you experienced at the time of the trauma

    Dissociation (feeling separate or detached from what is happening)

    Feelings in your body that are the same as those you experienced during the trauma

    How you might act:

    Avoid people or places that remind you of what happened

    Avoid thinking or talking about what happened

    Try to push memories away or try to forget what happened

    Avoid going to sleep for fear of nightmares

    Use alcohol or drugs to numb yourself

    Keep yourself busy

    Causes?

    PTSD is unique in that the main cause is exposure to traumatic life events. Factors that involve the likelihood of PTSD include:

    How much social support you have: Higher levels of social support lower the chances of PTSD

    Genetic and biological factors

    The ways your brain processes memories of trauma

    Treatment?

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy

    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

    Cognitive Processing Therapy

    Prolonged Exposure

    Narrative Exposure Therapy