Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a condition where you have recurring distressing memories, flashbacks, and other symptoms after suffering or witnessing a traumatic event. During the trauma you feel intense fear, helplessness or horror. In some people PTSD develops soon after the trauma. However, in some cases the symptoms first develop several months, or even years, after the trauma.
The strict definition of PTSD is that the trauma you had or witnessed must be severe. For example: a severe accident, rape, a life-threatening assault, torture, seeing someone killed, etc. However, symptoms similar to PTSD develop in some people after less severe traumatic events.
A combination of EMDR and CBT are the most effective way of overcoming PTSD. EMDR helps your mind rapidly process the memory. Usually within a few sessions the memory will have faded and will no longer cause any distress. CBT is then used to tackle the negative thinking and avoidance behaviours that may have built up since the trauma.
THE SYMPTOMS OF PTSD
Recurring thoughts, memories, images, dreams, or flashbacks of the trauma which are distressing.
You try to avoid thoughts, conversations, places, people, activities or anything which may trigger memories of the trauma, as these make you distressed or anxious.
Feeling emotionally numb and feeling detached from others. You may find it difficult to have loving feelings.
Your outlook for the future is often pessimistic. You may lose interest in activities which you used to enjoy and find it difficult to plan for the future.
Increased arousal which you did not have before the trauma. This may include:
Difficulty in getting off to sleep or staying asleep.
Being irritable which may include outbursts of anger.
You may be startled more easily than before.
It is normal to feel upset straight after a traumatic event. But for many people the distress gradually eases. If you have PTSD the distressing feelings and symptoms persist. In some cases the symptoms last just a few months, and then ease or go. However, in some cases the symptoms persist long-term.
Paula - Accountant
Paula was involved in a car crash where she was terrified she was going to die. Since the accident she became increasingly anxious in the car to the point where she was no longer able to drive. She would get distressing flashbacks and nightmares of the crash. She also became highly anxious in crowded places. She was more irritable and found it difficult to concentrate and she had cut off from her friends.
"I couldn't understand what was happening to me I felt my personality had changed. I now have my life back - thank you"
Through therapy, a combination of EMDR and CBT she was able to overcome her PTSD symptoms. The trauma memory was processed and faded. She was able to drive again without anxiety and she went back to the person she was before the accident.