Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It can occur in people of all ages and backgrounds, affecting their daily lives and overall well-being. PTSD can be triggered by a wide range of traumatic events such as accidents, natural disasters, physical or sexual assault, military combat, or the sudden death of a loved one.

What are Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD manifests through a variety of symptoms, which can be grouped into four main categories:

  • Intrusive thoughts: They often involve distressing memories, nightmares, or flashbacks of the traumatic event.
  • Avoidance: Examples include avoiding certain places, people, or activities that remind the individual of the traumatic experience.
  • Negative mood and cognition: They can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, or a distorted sense of blame.
  • Changes in arousal and reactivity: They may manifest as hyper-vigilance, difficulty sleeping, irritability, and an exaggerated startle response.

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD can arise from experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event that poses a threat to one’s life or safety. However, not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD, as individual susceptibility varies. Factors that may increase the risk of developing PTSD include a personal or family history of mental health conditions, a lack of social support, and the severity and duration of the trauma. The brain’s response to stress, including the release of stress hormones, also plays a role in the development of PTSD.

When Should I See My Doctor?

If you have experienced a traumatic event and are struggling with distressing symptoms that last for more than a month, it is advisable to seek professional help. Symptoms may interfere with your daily functioning, relationships, work, or overall quality of life. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.

How is PTSD Diagnosed?

To diagnose PTSD, psychologists rely on a thorough assessment of symptoms, medical history, and the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). A psychologist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation, which may include interviews, questionnaires, and psychological assessments. It is essential to provide accurate and honest information to aid in an accurate diagnosis.

How is PTSD Managed?

PTSD is a treatable condition, and several approaches can help manage symptoms effectively. Treatment plans often include a combination of therapy, medication, and self-help strategies. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), can assist in processing traumatic memories, reducing avoidance behaviours, and developing healthy coping mechanisms. In cases, where medications may be required, they will be prescribed by your GP, or your doctor may refer you to see psychiatrist. Either one may prescribe medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Additionally, self-help strategies like stress management techniques, regular exercise, and support from loved ones can contribute to the overall management of PTSD.

Summary

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and seeking professional help when needed are essential steps towards managing PTSD effectively. With proper treatment and support, individuals with PTSD can regain control over their lives and work towards a brighter future.

Get a Referral To See a Psychologist

To be able to claim a Medicare rebate you will need to speak to your GP to refer you to a psychologist. Once you have initiated your Mental Health Treatment Plan you can claim a rebate from Medicare for up to 10 appointments with a clinical psychologist. Mention this in your initial call and we can guide you in this process. 

Our Clinic Location and Reach

Our Mental Health and Psychology Practice is conveniently located in Woolloongabba, our practice is easily accessible by public transport. We proudly serve not only the surrounding suburbs of Coorparoo, Camp Hill, Morningside, and Carina but also receive referrals from various Brisbane suburbs, including Albion and Kedron. Through telehealth, we extend our psychology services to rural areas in QLD, NSW, and Victoria, ensuring that distance doesn’t hinder your access to quality care.