Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) might occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. A traumatic event could be sexual assault or violence, domestic abuse, an accident, a terrorist act, war, threat of death or serious injury. PTSD can occur at any age to anyone regardless of their gender, ethnicity or nationality. PTSD may develop immediately after the traumatic event or after a couple of months/years after the incident. Some trauma could be so severe that you may only recall fragments or little of the actual event itself. PTSD symptoms can be classified into 4 main groups:
- Intrusion: e.g. Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks
- Avoidance: Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event or avoiding talking about what happened or how they feel
- Alterations in cognitions and mood: Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, negative thoughts and feelings leading to ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others; distorted thoughts about the cause or consequences of the event leading to wrongly blaming self or other; being unable to experience positive emotions
- Alterations in arousal and reactivity: being irritable and having angry outbursts; having problems concentrating or sleeping.
PTSD Treatment Methods
PTSD is treatable. PTSD-focused therapy aims to help you strengthen your resilience and sense of safety. In doing so, you will be able to process and heal from the traumatic event. Some treatments used include Cognitive Therapy for PTSD, Narrative Exposure Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy or EMDR. Find out more about our experts, such as Dr Cherie Chan, Dr Ronina Stevens and Dr Zoe Starnawski
Resources on PTSD
- The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth (Glenn Schiraldi, 2016)
- The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole (Arielle Schwartz, 2017)
- PTSD Coach. Provides information about PTSD, alongside a self-assessment and professional care. Opportunities to find support, and tools that can help you manage the stresses of living with PTSD.
- PTSD Hub. Interactive community that allows people with PTSD to discuss their symptoms and coping strategies.
- Breathe2Relax. Portable stress management tool that teaches diaphragmatic breathing. It works by decreasing the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ stress response, making it a great option for people suffering from PTSD.
- PTSD Family Coach. For family members of those living with PTSD. Provides information about PTSD, how to take care of yourself, how to take care of your relationship with your loved one, and how to help your loved one get treatment.
- Mindfulness Coach. Teaches mindfulness techniques such as grounding yourself in the present moment. This can help you cope with the unpleasant thoughts and emotions that occur with PTSD.