Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

At Capacity Trust our aim is to improve the overall effectiveness of organisations. As part of our services we offer counselling services to individuals and groups either privately or in an organisational context. In the first of a series of posts on psychological conditions that may hamper your effectiveness we will have a brief look at PTSD.

After one has experienced a traumatic event, it is normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected. But if the emotions don’t fade and you feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this article we review what is PTSD is, the signs and symptoms, risk factors, treatment etc.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. Development differs from person to person and the most common symptoms may develop in the first hours or days following the traumatic event; however it can sometimes take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.

Traumatic events that may lead to PTSD include:

  • War
  • Car or plane crashes
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Assault
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Natural disasters

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms can arise suddenly, gradually, or come and go over time. Sometimes symptoms can just appear out of the blue. At other times, they are triggered by something that reminds you of the original traumatic event, such as a noise, an image, certain words, or a smell.

There are three main types of symptoms:

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event
  2. Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

Causes and risk factors of PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It is almost impossible to predict who will develop PTSD after a traumatic event; however there are certain risk factors that increase one’s chances. These risk factors usually revolve around the nature of the traumatic event. Severe threats to your life or personal safety are more likely to cause PTSD in a traumatic event meaning the more extreme the threat the greater the risk of developing PTSD in response.

Getting help for PTSD

If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s important to seek help right away. Medical professionals like Clinical Psychologists and Registered Psychological Counsellors are always available to help and should be your first port of call. The sooner PTSD is confronted, the easier it is to overcome. If you’re reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the most effective way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past.

Treatment for PTSD

By receiving treatment, symptoms are relieved by helping you deal with the trauma you’ve experienced. Rather than avoiding the trauma and any reminder of it, treatment will encourage you to recall and process the emotions and sensations you felt during the original event. In addition to offering an outlet for emotions you’ve been bottling up, treatment for PTSD will also help restore your sense of control and reduce the powerful hold the memory of the trauma has on your life.

Self – help treatment for PTSD

Recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) takes time and is a gradual, ongoing process. Healing from PTSD doesn’t just happen overnight, nor do the memories of the trauma ever disappear completely. This can make life seem difficult at times. But there are lots things you can do to cope with residual symptoms and reduce your anxiety and fear.

Some tips:

  • Self – help tip 1: Reach out to others for support
  • Self – help tip 2: Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Self – help tip 3: Challenge your sense of helplessness
  • Self – help tip 4: Spend time outdoors in nature

Disclaimer

This article has been written as an information source and not as a diagnostic tool. Individuals who may believe that they suffer from PTSD should seek professional help immediately. The Psychological Association of Namibia (PAN) has a list of registered counselors and psychologists in nearly every town in Namibia that can help with this condition. 

At Capacity Trust we offer life coaching services that can help you identify and determine how to reduce decision fatigue as well as help you sustain a productive and efficient lifestyle. Staff offering counselling and coaching services are registered with all the relevant local and international professional governing bodies. Find out more HERE