Post-traumatic stress (disorder) is, in my mind, not a disorder at all but a collection of physical and mental symptoms due to being subjected to or witnessing a traumatic event.
Contrary to belief, it is not just people who have served in the armed forces, worked for the public services, or been involved in a natural disaster or war.
Post-trauma can affect anyone and can be related to one event or multiple big T or little T traumas.
Everyone is unique in their ability to process and deal with trauma. PTS(D) is common, but its severity can vary dramatically.
PTS(D) symptoms can range from:
1: Overly intense negative feelings associated with a past traumatic event.
The negative feelings are very intense. This type of fear and discomfort can alter your day-to-day life.
Triggers can range from but are not limited to; smell, sounds, colours, people, objects, and words.
2: Nightmares of the traumatic event. Recurring nightmares are common in those with PTS(D). Most often, the nightmares are about the traumatic event. But, the dream's content can be unrelated to the original subject matter and appear not to make sense.
3: Difficulty creating or maintaining relationships. Relationships can be especially challenging for those with PTS(D). There can be a disconnection from other people. Particularly if the trauma is related to early childhood relationships or due to the person experiencing something, the majority of people haven't got an understanding of, such as being in a war zone.
4: Flashbacks that feel like the event is happening all over again. Not everyone with PTS(D) has flashbacks, but they aren't uncommon. Flashbacks have been described as a dream that happens while you're awake. They can be extremely vivid and even include olfactory and auditory hallucinations, too. Particular smells or noises can trigger flashbacks.
5: Persistent, negative thoughts about the world, other people, or yourself. Everyone has an off day now and then, but those with PTS(D) frequently have negative thoughts that invade every part of their life.
6: Lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities. For example, if you used to enjoy certain activities like running, gardening, watching films, reading, and meeting friends but can't enjoy them after suffering a traumatic event, you might be experiencing PTS(D).
7: Hypervigilance. Imagine walking down a dark alley in a bad part of town late at night. You'd be hypervigilant. That's a normal reaction, but if you're hypervigilant while watching TV on the sofa in your own home or sitting in a room with people you love, you might be dealing with PTS(D).
8: Guilt or shame. PTS(D) sufferers often feel guilt or shame for surviving a traumatic event that left others dead or seriously hurt. Soldiers and law enforcement officers often feel guilt or shame for people they may have had to harm in the line of duty. Guilt or shame about the other person involved or what you did or didn't do at the time.
9: Self-destructive behaviour. Substance abuse, self-harming, and other self-destructive behaviours occur with high frequency in those with PTS(D). Reckless behaviour can be a sign of PTS(D).
Disorder or emotional eating
10: Difficulty concentrating. As you can imagine, all of these symptoms can make concentration very challenging. PTS(D) sufferers often have issues with focus and concentration.
PTS(D) can seriously affect one's quality of life. It is a common condition that affects over 8% of the population over the course of a lifetime. About 8 of every 100 women (or 8%) and 4 of every 100 men (or 4%) will have PTS(D) at some point in their life.
PTS(D) can make it challenging to work, sleep, maintain a relationship, or enjoy life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing PTS(D), don't hesitate to contact me to learn more about how hypnotherapy can help you.