PTSD - Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a condition caused by very stressful, life-threatening, frightening or distressing events such as (but not limited to)
rape or sexual assault
violent personal attacks
mugging or robbery
serious health problems (including for example being in Intensive Care or A and E),
serious road accidents
or childbirth experiences.
Symptoms of PTSD
People suffering from PTSD often experience "flashbacks" and nightmares where we effectively feel like we are reliving the traumatic event in the present moment. We are likely to also experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt, depression and insomnia and find it difficult to concentrate. Often we may try to soothe away these symptoms ands to stop flashbacks by drinking, using drugs and hiding away. Flashbacks are caused because of the way in which our trauma has been encoded in our brain.
PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later. It is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience. There are complex reasons why trauma manifests as PTSD in some but not others and this includes our genetics.
It is important to note that you do not have to fit all of the symptoms of PTSD to still have Trauma (read more about types of trauma and how therapy can help here). Symptoms vary (for example some people don't have flashbacks) and no one person's experience is the same as someone else's. As with all of my work it is individual to the client and so we can jointly create a treatment plan that works for you.
Successfully treating PTSD
Through much clinical research and advance in Neuroscience over the last two decades we now know much more about PTSD and importantly how to successfully treat it. It requires very specific approaches to be effective. Two treatments are regarded by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as "Gold Standard" in helping people overcome PTSD. These are TF-CBT and EMDR. I am clinically trained in both of these treatments. They both do the same thing but in slightly different ways which we can go through in person at the beginning of our work together. Therapy is seen as a first-line intervention - meaning it is favoured over medication - although this can be used for some symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Using specific methods we help your brain remember your trauma in a different way - one which is no longer as disturbing or disruptive which will mean your flashbacks stop. We will also deliberately focus on helping you get your life back so that things that have been triggering you no longer do.
I am privileged to have worked with people suffering from PTSD and Trauma for many years now and am passionate about helping people get back their sense of self. If you are suffering now I can help you. Give me a call and we can discuss what will work best for you.