Post-traumatic stress is a complex array of feelings and behaviours that may arise for people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. This condition may also develop in response to sharing others’ experiences of traumatic events, or even threats of trauma.
Traumatic events include, yet are not limited to:
Death or loss of a loved one
Seeing someone injured or killed
Being physically or emotionally threatened
Following these kinds of events, it is common for people to experience intrusive and recurrent feelings of anxiety and grief. This can also include having “flashback” memories or nightmares. With understanding and support these emotions do resolve over time.
However some people continue to experience severe anguish and anxiety, impacting their day-to-day functioning. A ‘’post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD) may be diagnosed when these experiences reach a persistent and disabling state.
In such cases, expert psychological guidance is recommended to assist sufferers to process the experience and resolve overwhelming feelings.
What are the signs of post-traumatic stress?
Sufferers may develop a range of unpleasant symptoms and unhelpful coping behaviours in response to the stress:
Hyperarousal and constant vigilance to one’s surroundings
Feeling tense, jittery, or “on edge”
Avoiding reminders of the distressing event – including places, people, objects, or music
Misuse of substances
Difficulties in intimate, social or familial relationships
Impaired performance at work
Specifically in children: events recreated in play
Behavioural difficulties (including increased aggression and anger outbursts).
Anxiety and panic
Increased irritability and agitation
Intrusive flashbacks or thoughts of the event
Re-experiencing the event
Mood swings and depression
Dissociation – the feeling of being absent or detached from reality or emotions
Decreased focus and concentration
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Self-recrimination – blaming oneself for the event
How we can help
We understand that the experience of trauma can have a profound effect a person’s life, views and preceptions. We can work collaboratively with people to ‘understand and process’ their experience, develop coping skills and challenge their negative self-perceptions and beliefs.
After an initial consultation with one of our psychiatrists, a care pathway with personalised therapy recommendations can be started.