What is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychological disorder which can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a serious accident, a terrorist attack, war/combat, a natural disaster or a rape or another violent personal attack. While many people will experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the first few weeks after experiencing trauma, most will recover own their own with the support of friends and family.
However, some individuals will develop the full spectrum of symptoms associated with a PTSD diagnosis and will require professional treatment.
Anyone experiencing the symptoms of PTSD beyond a two-week period should seek professional medical advice.
What are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?
There are four main types of struggles associated with a person experiencing PTSD:
- Feeling emotionally numb and disconnected: Sufferers tend to lose interest in everyday occurrences, avoiding the simple pleasures of their lives and cutting themselves off from friends and family.
- Re-living the trauma: A person with PTSD will continue to relive the traumatic event via the form of vivid mental images and nightmares. This may be come with the added stress of strong emotional or physical reactions, such as an increased heart rate, sweating and panic attacks.
- Being hyper-sensitive or easily wound up: Sleep difficulties, lack of focus and high levels of irritability, with becoming increasingly aware of dangerous situations are all symptoms of PTSD
- Actively avoiding reminders of the trauma: A person experiencing PTSD will go out of their way to avoid places, people, activities that remind them of their trauma to avoid experiencing painful memories.
Those suffering from PTSD often experience feelings of panic or extreme fear, similar to the level of fear they experienced during their trauma. It’s also common for people with PTSD to experience other mental health problems simultaneously. These may have developed as a result of the trauma experienced, developed after the PTSD. Additional problems, most commonly anxiety, depression and alcohol or drug use, are more likely to occur if PTSD has gone untreated for a long time.
How common is PTSD in Australia?
Anyone can develop PTSD following a traumatic situation, but those with the highest risk factors are people who have suffered trauma associated with deliberate harm such as sexual or physical assault, or situations where a person has suffered repeated trauma such as childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence or war zones.
It’s estimated that 12 percent of Australians will experience some form of PTSD during their lifetime, with serious accidents being the leading causes in Australia.
It’s important to seek professional advice should you experience high levels of distress as a result of serious trauma.
What are the causes of PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience.
Types of events that can lead to PTSD include:
- Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
- Prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
- War and military combat
- Serious road accidents
- Hostage situations
- A terrorist attacks
- Natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis
- A diagnosis of a life-threatening condition
- An unexpected severe injury or death of a close family member or friend
- Witnessing violent deaths
PTSD develops in about 1 in 3 people who experience severe trauma. It isn’t fully understood why some people develop the condition while others don’t. However, certain factors appear to make some people more likely to develop PTSD. Individuals may be considered more at risk of developing PTSD after experiencing trauma if they’ve previously suffered from depression or anxiety, or don’t have sufficient support from friends and family. In addition to these factors, there may also be a genetic predisposition at play, with some people being more susceptible to developing PTSD if one of their parents has been diagnosed with a mental health issue.
Help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
At Brain Training Australia we use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Neurofeedback Brain Training to help our clients suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Let us help you. Here is how to get started.
Funding options available Private Health, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Medicare, Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), to cover part of, if not all of your Brain Training Program with us (see our Fees Page).