What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Posted 03 May

-by Elaine Corcoran, Founder & Clinical Director at Brain Training Australia™

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (also referred to as PTSD) is a disorder that can develop in those who have either been involved in or witnessed a traumatic event or situation.  These can include distressing occurrences such as seeing someone die unexpectedly, witnessing an assault or being in a car accident.  PTSD is most associated with those who have experienced combat or participated in a conflict, and generally it is considered to be a delayed reaction to an event, rather than instantaneous.  The feelings associated with PTSD are natural, and for most people will go away after a few weeks, however some people may experience symptoms for months or even years after the event has occurred.

People with PTSD continue to have intense, distressing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and feel detached or isolated from friends and family.  People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.

Professional help from a Certified Mental Health Practitioner should be sought by anyone experiencing the signs or symptoms of PTSD.

What are the signs and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Not everyone will have the same reaction when faced with a traumatic event, and not everyone will develop possible symptoms of PTSD at the same time.  This is why it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional who has experience with this type of disorder if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Having flashbacks or nightmares that involve the trauma
  • Having interrupted sleep patterns
  • Emotional distress thinking about the event, avoiding references to it, the location or people associated with it
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation, and avoidance of social situations with family or friends
  • Experiencing panic attacks
  • Feeling constant anxiety, and being irritable or moody
  • Feeling disconnected with people and events happening around you
  • Feeling like you can’t cope with your responsibilities
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, stomach complaints, aches and pains, not recovering from colds and flus quickly, heart palpitations, chest tightness and high blood pressure
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with the symptoms

How common is PTSD?

It has been estimated that more than 10% of those who experience or witness a traumatic event may develop post traumatic stress disorder afterwards.  Unlike other kinds of disorders such as acute or episodic stress, the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder are more likely to be delayed so it can be harder to diagnose.

What are the causes of post traumatic stress disorder?

As with most mental health issues, there is no one definitive cause of post traumatic stress disorder.  What can bring on years of PTSD symptoms in one person, may be forgotten quickly by another.

It is known that people with pre-existing mental health issues such as depression or anxiety are more susceptible to developing signs and symptoms of PTSD, as well as certain personality types – for example, ‘Type A’ personalities are more likely to succumb to stress related disorders as they struggle to cope with the high demands that they and others place upon them.  It has also been suggested that genetics may play a factor in the development of the disorder, with people with parents with mental health issues more likely to present with signs of PTSD after a traumatic event.

The events that can lead to the development of PTSD include:

  • Events during a conflict or war, or combat related situations
  • An unexpected death or injury of a loved one
  • Witnessing the sudden or traumatic death of a stranger
  • Experiencing or witnessing major accidents
  • Being involved in or witnessing a criminal act such as a burglary or serious assault
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or bushfires
  • Experiencing or witnessing prolonged sexual or physical abuse or neglect

Options to support you through PTSD 

At Brain Training Australia™ we use a blended modality of Neurofeedback and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help clients struggling with PTSD.

Using the latest and most advanced form of Neurofeedback Brain Training Technology, we believe in treating people holistically, and consider a person’s overall wellness.  We work directly on a one to one basis with adults, children and adolescents and we don’t require a referral or a mental health care plan.  You can just call up and book in, or simply just book online and we can contact you.

Let us help you take the next step for optimal mental health and well-being.   Call the professionals at Brain Training Australia™ today.  We can help.