Trauma and PTSD

Trauma can be described as an emotional shock which may cause substantial lasting psychological damage for a person. Many shocking or upsetting events can cause psychological trauma for those who are involved in them or witness them. Some typical examples of such events are:

  • Serious road traffic accidents
  • Physical or sexual assaults or abuse
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Combat exposure
  • Natural disasters.

Most people who witness or experience a traumatic event or series of events will experience some degree of emotional shock and upset and symptoms linked to this. In many cases this state of shock and upset will fade or pass, and the traumatised person will adapt, recover, and continue to lead a normal life. However, in some cases the initial trauma can lead to substantial lasting long term damage to a persons psychological health. This longer term damage is referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( or PTSD for short). PTSD will often develop soon after the trauma, although there is no hard and fast rule.  There are many different symptoms and indicators of PTSD, but some of the most common are:

  • Persistent repeated dreams, hallucinations, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks of the event.
  • Feelings of anxiety and intense upset when reminded of the event.
  • Avoiding people, thoughts, and conversations linked to the event.
  • Amnesia or inability to recall important aspects of the trauma.
  • Feelings of detachment, and lack of emotional warmth towards loved ones, loss of interest in hobbies, pastimes, family.
  • Anger and irritability.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns and poor concentration.