Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Treatment Description

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by any traumatic event which is stressful, frightening or distressing.

Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping and find concentrating difficult. These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.

Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause PTSD. These can include:

  • Serious road accidents.
  • Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery.
  • Witnessing other people dying or being injured.
  • Hearing about an unexpected death or injury of a close friend or family member
  • Serious health problems.
  • Childbirth experiences.
  • Changes in your mood

Physical signs include:

  • Delayed-onset PTSD – if your symptoms emerge more than six months after experiencing trauma, this might be described as ‘delayed PTSD’ or ‘delayed-onset PTSD’.
  • Complex PTSD – if you experienced trauma at an early age or it lasted for a long time.
  • Birth trauma – PTSD that develops after a traumatic experience of childbirth is also known as ‘birth trauma’.

If you are given a diagnosis of PTSD, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe PTSD. This explains what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently – it’s not a description of how frightening or upsetting your experiences might have been.

PTSD can be successfully treated, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event. The main types of treatment include:

  • Watchful waiting – carefully monitoring your symptoms to see whether they improve or get worse without treatment.
  • Psychological therapies – talking therapies including psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR).
  • Medication – via a psychiatrist or GP. Many people with PTSD may also be depressed. Taking antidepressants may help to relieve some of the symptoms and help with getting the most from psychological therapies.
  • Our experienced therapists can help you through your PTSD through CBT and psychotherapy.