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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Post traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that can be caused by experiencing distressing, traumatic events. Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks which can be very overwhelming. These symptoms tend to be severe and have a significant impact on the person’s life. The type of events that cause PTSD can be road traffic accidents, violent assaults, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect. People who experience severe neglect, abuse or violence may be diagnosed with complex PTSD. In this variation of the disorder the person has been often traumatised during childhood but might not experience symptoms until years after the event.

Some symptoms of PTSD are listed below:

  • Re-experiencing such as flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive images or sensations and physical sensations (including nausea, pain, sweating, or trembling)
  • Avoidance and emotional numbing
  • Hyper-arousal including irritability, angry outbursts, sleeping problems, difficulty concentrating

Sometimes individuals suffering from PTSD can suffer from other emotional difficulties such as anxiety, depression, self harm or engage in substance misuse.

Treatment for PTSD

Psychological therapies can be effective for the treatment of PTSD. The most common therapeutic approaches are cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) that use a range of techniques to help you come to terms with the traumatic event. The first course of action for the treatment of PTSD should be psychological therapy, however, sometimes medication can be of help.

The psychologists at The Chelsea Psychology Clinic ae experienced in the treatment of PTSD. On some occasions if it is appropriate they might also organise a referral to another specialist for EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Re-processing) outside of the clinic.