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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a term to describe the reactions when a person is exposed to a significant trauma.

The trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar view of the world.

Typical types of psychological trauma include bullying, domestic violence, sexual abuse, employment discrimination, life threatening medical conditions, catastrophic events such as earthquakes’, fires.

Long-term exposure to a situation such as verbal abuse can also be traumatic. People who go through these extremely traumatic events experience certain problems and symptoms afterwards.

The severity of the symptoms depends on the person, the type of trauma and the emotional support they receive. Symptoms of PTSD include feeling numb and detached from ones surroundings, persistently reexpereincing the trauma, with recurrent images thoughts and dreams.

There is also marked avoidance of stimuli that arouse recall of the trauma e.g. thoughts , feelings, activities, places and people.

There are also  symptoms of anxiety and increased arousal including difficulty sleeping, irritability, poor concentration, hypervigilance and motor restlessness.

PTSD is not the only psychological problem arising from trauma events.

Other difficulties that can emerge include  depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance use, addictions (e.g. gambling), and adjustment problems. Untreated PTSD symptoms can last a lifetime.

There are a range of successful evidence based treatment approaches for PTSD.

These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT interventions include psychoeducation, anxiety management, traumatic memory exposure treatment and cognitive therapy.

Another successful intervention is Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing. Hypnosis is also a helpful adjunct to the other approaches.

Up to 10 to 12 sessions are recommended.

Should you need advice in this area, call Graeme Clarke on 348-5595 to get his professional help.

  • Unit 10, 35 Riccarton Road
    Christchurch 8011
    New Zealand

    Phone: (03) 348 5595