Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the possible responses to a distressing event.
Trauma related symptoms are expected to some degree after a distressing situation, such as an earthquake, fire, assault etc.
Some people may develop more serious symptoms, that will need professional diagnosis, intervention and support, as this may be PTSD.
PTSD can be the immediate acute response after the traumatic situation, or it can present months or even years after experiencing or witnessing a distressful event. This condition can be chronic and can disrupt daily life.
PTSD can be difficult to diagnose, as it doesn't always present the same way for each person, even if they have experienced the same distressing event. It should be considered a serious injury. The symptoms of PTSD affect your body and mind. Returning to normal responsibilities and routines at home or at work can be extremely challenging or impossible, especially when these environments may trigger a memory of the traumatic incident.
Your experience of PTSD may include:
- reliving the event: you may experience flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts or extreme physical and emotional reactions
- avoidance: staying away from places, activities, people, or things that trigger memories of the event, being detached from any emotion and remaining numb
- hyper-arousal: constantly being on alert, easily startled, outbursts of anger, can't concentrate, easily distracted, difficulty resting or sleeping
- children may also present with clinginess, not wanting to be separated from their caregiver day or night, or unwillingness to resume their routines. Symptoms will vary depending on their age.
For some people the symptoms can be so disruptive, they may engage in risk taking behaviours or the abuse of substances, to cope.
PTSD needs professional intervention which will be different for each person, but with the support of whānau, friends and colleagues, as well as your own commitment to the treatment, this condition can be healed.
Encourage those who appear to be struggling to seek professional help, without hesitation.
Please see the resources attached and the links to this page for more information.