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People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have experienced a very stressful event (i.e., trauma) and suffer symptoms for at least one month after the event occurred. They may experience very distressing thoughts about the trauma, nightmares and difficulty sleeping, feel easily startled and on edge, become irritable or depressed, have difficulty concentrating, and they may begin to believe that the world is an unsafe place or feel hopeless about their future. Thinking about the trauma can trigger physical reactions such as sweating, shaking or panicky feelings.
People with PTSD often avoid situations, people and places that remind them about the event and sometimes say that they feel numb and uninterested in people and activities that used to be important to them. More than 5% of Australians have PTSD.
"Simon was assaulted and developed PTSD. He has nightmares about the attack, and avoids people and places that remind him of the assault. He now constantly feels on edge, has difficulty relaxing, and believes that the world is a very dangerous place. He feels guilt at being assaulted, and drinks alcohol more regularly to help him cope with his symptoms."
People with PTSD often have the following types of symptoms:
These symptoms often begin straight after the trauma. But, it is also possible that they might not start until a long time afterwards.
The good news is that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is treatable. The best treatments involve:
(a) Learning about PTSD, the symptoms and how they interact.
(b) Learning practical, proven, skills for controlling and managing symptoms.
You can talk to your General Practitioner about getting a referral to an experienced mental health professional or another mental health professional to learn to manage your PTSD. Or, you can try our PTSD Course.