Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a treatable anxiety disorder that affects approximately three
million Australians at some point in their lives. It is a condition where fear, anxiety or the memories
of a traumatic event cannot be ignored. If you have PTSD, these strong emotions may feel like they
will last forever and tend to interfere with how you cope with daily life.
Events that could lead to PTSD may include traumatic experiences such as a severe accident, physical
or sexual assault, war, or torture. PTSD can also develop due to an ongoing series of traumatic
events such as emotional abuse or living in a war zone. In these cases, as a result of their trauma, the
individual often experiences intense fear, horror or even helplessness.
Within the first couple of weeks after a traumatic event, it is common for everyone to experience
some PTSD symptoms. Often, many individuals, with the support of family and friends, may
instinctively work through these symptoms without experiencing any long-term impact on their life.
However, others, for various reasons, may not recover so quickly. These ongoing, everyday life
symptoms may be PTSD. In this case, why not consider Inner Psych's telehealth or PTSD therapy
Everyone's experience with PTSD is different. PTSD symptoms may appear in the month after a traumatic event but may also stay dormant for years.
These symptoms can vary from subtle changes in day-to-day behaviours or numbness and withdrawal to upsetting flashbacks or strong physical responses such as a rapidly beating heart.
Symptoms can include:
Children and teenagers with PTSD may have similar symptoms to adults but slightly different. Specific PTSD signs to watch for in children and teenagers include:
It is also not unusual for individuals with PTSD to suffer from other mental health disorders. These disorders may be a direct response to the traumatic event or may develop due to the ongoing challenge of coping with PTSD.
In addition, the longer a person has PTSD, the greater their chance of developing mental health illnesses such as anxiety, depression and drug or alcohol substance use disorder.
PTSD develops as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic incident. This traumatic event may be a life-threatening experience, a severe injury or an act of sexual, physical, or emotional violence. The incident can be a one-off event or something experienced repeatedly over a long time.
Some examples of experiences that may result in the development of PTSD are:
Although anyone can develop PTSD, some people have a higher risk than others. As with many other mental health conditions, no one factor is sure to make a person more likely to develop PTSD while another person in the same situation may not. However, certain risk factors may make it more likely.
Identified risk factors for PTSD include:
Diagnosing PTSD typically involves a general practitioner (GP) and another mental health professional such as Inner Psych's telehealth and online trauma therapist. The first step is to conduct an initial mental health assessment that asks questions about any current symptoms you are experiencing and any history of mental health disorders for you or your family.
Depending on the circumstance, your GP may also conduct a physical examination to exclude any other reasons you may be experiencing the symptoms you report.
In addition, our online trauma therapist may ask more questions about symptoms duration, frequency and intensity and any potentially traumatic events that may be contributing to symptoms. For a formal PTSD diagnosis, a person typically needs to have experienced the traumatic event more than six months ago and have symptoms of PTSD severe enough to disrupt their ability to function at work, at home or socially.
However, even if you don't meet the exact criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, we may still recommend treatment for PTSD if the symptoms are sufficiently severe and have been disruptive for longer than two weeks. So, you don't need to wait six months after a traumatic event to seek help. Instead, seek help as soon as you feel you need it.
Treatment for PTSD typically involves psychotherapy and may also include medication. However, everyone's PTSD is different, and different types and combinations of psychotherapy or medication may work better for you than others.
However, psychotherapy is ultimately recognised as the best long-term solution for recovering from PTSD, while medication best manages short-term symptoms.
Some common types of psychotherapy used in the treatment of PTSD include:
In addition, getting support from loved ones such as family members or friends in your recovery from PTSD has also been shown to make recovery more effective. Friends and family may assist you by helping to minimise other stressful life experiences during your treatment and by being a listening ear. Importantly, remember that recovering from Trauma and PTSD requires time and support.
So, if you think you might be suffering from Trauma and PTSD or need a mental health professional to help you in your treatment, give us a call today. Our professionals can provide an online assessment of your condition and personalise an ongoing treatment to help you regain control of your life.