Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

During our lives we will likely all experience a traumatic event at some point that is overwhelming, frightening, and feels out of our control; whether that be a car crash, being the victim of an assault, or witnessing an accident. In some cases, even hearing about an unexpected injury or violent death of a family member or close friend can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For some people, traumatic experiences can trigger a reaction that can last for many months or years. This is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and requires professional help to resolve.

 Typical traumatic events include:           

  • serious accidents
  • military combat
  • violent personal assault (sexual assault, physical attack, abuse, robbery, mugging)
  • being taken hostage
  • terrorist attack
  • being a prisoner-of-war
  • torture (physical, emotional and psychological)
  • natural or man-made disasters
  • being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Symptoms of PTSD

Many people feel grief-stricken, depressed, anxious, guilty and angry after a traumatic experience. In addition to these understandable emotional reactions, there are three main categories of symptoms which signal the presence of PTSD:

  • Flashbacks & Nightmares

You find yourself re-living and re-experiencing the event via flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive images or sensations and physical sensations (including nausea, pain, sweating or trembling).

  • Avoidance & Numbing

It can be just too upsetting to re-live your experience over and over again so, you distract yourself or avoid places and people that remind you of the trauma, and try not to talk about it. You may deal with the pain of your feelings by trying to feel nothing at all – by becoming emotionally numb. 

  • Being 'on guard'

You become hyper-alert and hyper-vigilant. You feel anxious and find it hard to sleep. Other people might notice that you are jumpy and irritable.

Treatment for PTSD

Psychological therapy is recommended as an effective treatment for PTSD. The team at the Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic are highly skilled in the following evidence-based treatments for PTSD:

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT) aims to help you understand how 'habits of thinking' can maintain and worsen the symptoms of PTSD. TF-CBT can help you change these 'extreme' ways of thinking and process your trauma memories, whilst helping you to feel better and safe, reducing the need for trauma-informed behaviours.
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specialist therapy that aims to help you process and resolve traumatic experiences, and develop more adaptive beliefs and memories. EMDR has been shown to reduce emotional distress, help challenge negative beliefs and reduce the physiological arousal associated with PTSD. 

We're here for you. If you would like to enquire about treatment for PTSD at The Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic, please do not hesitate to get in touch to arrange an assessment.