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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma

Many people experience traumas in life. We all respond to traumatic events differently and although we may may experience extreme distress or fear or disturbing emotions at the time of a traumatic event, these feelings normally fade away after the traumatic event. However, sometimes memories of traumatic event and the associated disturbing emotions about these experiences can persist for a long period of time and can interfere with a person’s ability to function in life.

Certain people can experience flashbacks, nightmares or agitation, and may actively avoid things that remind them of the event. Others may become easily triggered by present experiences that share similarities with past events. If these experiences are interfering with everyday living it is time to seek professional help.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a chronic and disabling constellation of symptoms that can have a devastating impact on the sufferer and their relationships. Left untreated, other problems may also develop such as depression or substance abuse. However, with the right professional support and treatment, recovery is possible. You can heal from and can grow from your trauma (this is called post-traumatic growth). 

Some people find having a label that acknowledges and communicates their difficulties can be validating. For others, a diagnosis may be experienced as dehumanizing. However, it is important to remember that a disorder is not necessarily permanent. When you no longer meet the criteria, the label no longer applies. This is true of many diagnoses, and can be true of PTSD.    

Symptoms of unprocessed trauma

Different people respond to traumatic events differently. Some common symptoms include:

  • Developing excessively negative beliefs about yourself, others, or the world.
  • Intrusive reliving of the traumatic event – Reliving the event through unwanted (intrusive) and recurring memories, often in the form of vivid images or nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions, such as sweating, heart palpitations, teariness, or panic when reminded of the event.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event – Deliberately avoiding activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the event because they bring back painful memories.
  • Being overly alert or wound up – Sleeping difficulties, irritability and a lack of concentration. A person may become easily startled and constantly on the lookout for signs of danger.
  • Feeling emotionally numb – Losing interest in day-to-day activities, feeling cut off and detached from friends and family, or feeling emotionally flat and numb.
  • Being triggered by present events that share some characteristic or feature that is similar to a previous traumatic experience.

If any of these things have been happening for a month or more, you should seek professional help.  Therapies such as EMDR Therapy have been specifically designed for trauma. You can read more about EMDR Therapy here

I am a PhD Clinical Psychologist with over 15 years’ experience. I have received training in many therapies including EMDR Therapy, a powerful therapy for trauma backed by over 30 years of research. EMDR is designed to help you safely process traumatic experiences so that the effect of the event (or its memory) no longer disturbs you.

 

To book in a session with me:

CONTACT ME

I will typically respond to you within 12-24 hrs.

 

I am a PhD Clinical Psychologist with over 15 years’ experience. I have received training in many therapies including EMDR Therapy, a powerful therapy for trauma backed by over 30 years of research. EMDR is designed to help you safely process traumatic experiences so that the effect of the event (or its memory) no longer disturbs you.

To book in a session with me:

CONTACT ME

I will typically respond to you within 12-24 hrs.

Further Resources

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    Clinical Psychology Solutions

     

    admin@mi-psych.com.au
    Po Box 1028, Newtown NSW 2042