Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It has come to my attention lately, both through my practice and through literature, that there is a significant incidence of PTSD. This mental illness is brought about by a traumatic experience or even witnessing a traumatic event. The events could be a car crash either experienced or witnessed, sexual abuse, rape, or other horrific event. The symptoms can be many and varied. Anxiety and depression are common.
If you have suffered from a traumatic event either in childhood or later in life and have had the following symptoms, you may have PTSD”
1. Response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror, or in children the response will involve disorganized or agitated behaviour.
2. There may be persistent avoidance of the stimulus originally experienced, and numbing of general responsiveness.
3. The symptoms must be persistent for more than one month and the must cause significant distress or social, occupational or other important areas of functioning
4. Symptoms of anxiety, hyper-vigilance or exaggerated startle reflex may be experienced. There individual may also feel highly irritable, have nightmares and have difficulty in completing tasks.
5. There may be a sense of detachment or estrangement from others and a lack of intimacy, tenderness and or sexuality.
(DSM TR IV 2005)
If you have had some or all of these symptoms you may be suffering from PTSD. If you have these symptoms is can be very helpful to talk to a counsellor. In many cases, individuals will avoid dealing with their issue because of the emotional pain. Avoidance will not help, in fact it can figuratively “poison” the individual to the point of suicidal behaviour. By dealing with the issue in the confidential environment of a counselling session, the fear, guilt and suffering may be reduced or eliminated so that the individual may get on with a meaningful and creative life.