Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops in some people following the experience of an extremely threatening event (or series of events). Examples of horrifying events might be a car crash, sudden loss of a loved one, or a physical or sexual assault. These events are often experienced as being overwhelming, making us feel helpless or out of control.
The memory of the traumatic event may feel unbearable so people might try to push the memory out of their minds or avoid reminders of the event that might trigger the memory.
Symptoms of PTSD fall into three categories: re-experiencing, avoidance and arousal.
Re-experiencing may include having recurrent, intrusive memories of the traumatic event, flashbacks or nightmares. Avoidance symptoms include avoiding places or people that remind us of the event or avoiding taking or thinking about it. Arousal symptoms may include difficulty sleeping and feeling overly alert for danger or threat, feeling jumpy and on edge, tearful or frightened. It is not uncommon for people who have experienced a traumatic event to have some (or all) of these symptoms during the month following a traumatic event, however if they persist for more than a month and interfere with your ability to function in day to day life, then this might indicate PTSD.
The most effective treatment for PTSD is psychological therapy. The therapy that has the best evidence for helping people recover from PTSD is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trained therapist. Treatment involves talking and thinking about the traumatic event so that it becomes less frightening and more like a normal bad memory. CBT can help you put the traumatic event in the past and start reclaiming your life.
We offer help to deal with a range of issues including:
If you need urgent help and are worried that you can’t keep yourself safe, City and Hackney has a 24-hour Crisis helpline on 0800 073 0006 or you can get help at your local Accident and Emergency department.