Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

post traumatic stress disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder describes a range of symptoms.  You may experience them if you have been exposed to extremely threatening, or horrific events - or a series of events.  You might have experienced these during childhood or adulthood.  It may have been a single incident, or an ongoing experience of threat.

Post traumatic stress disorder symptoms are:

  • Re-experiencing the traumatic event or events.  This could be in the form of of vivid intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares.  You can experience this in different ways, for example through hearing, smell, physical sensations or visually.   It is almost always accompanied by strong or overwhelming emotions, particularly fear or horror, and strong physical sensations.
  • Avoiding thoughts and memories of the event or events.  This includes avoiding activities, situations, or people which are reminders of the event(s).
  • You feel persistently threatened, for example, being hyper vigilant (feeling constantly on alert), or being easily and strongly startled in reaction to things like unexpected noises.

The symptoms described above, persist for several weeks at least.  They also have a significant impact upon many areas of functioning.  For example, personal and family relationships, social engagement, educational achievement, and occupational function.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Complex PTSD encompasses all the above symptoms.  It develops following exposure to an event or series of events, extremely threatening or horrific in nature.  This is commonly prolonged or repetetive events from which escape is difficult or impossible.  Examples are torture, slavery, genocide, prolonged domestic violence, repeated childhood sexual or physical abuse.

Complex post traumatic stress disorder additional symptoms are:
  • You experience severe and persistent difficulties with regulating your emotions.
  • You hold severe and persistent beliefs about feeling worthless, diminished or defeated.  You probably also have feelings of shame, guilt or failure related to the traumatic event.
  • You have severe and persistent difficulties in sustaining relationships and in feeling close to others. These symptoms cause significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

The above information is taken from the World Health Organisations description of PTSD and C-PTSD.  Do you recognise yourself as having these symptoms?  I am able to offer specific treatment for PTSD symptoms.  You can find out more here.