Psychology for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder also known as PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that affects approximately 12% of Australians. Serious accidents are one of the leading causes of PTSD in Australia (Beyond Blue, 2016). Worryingly, only 30% of people with PTSD seek help (Australian Psychological Society, 2017).
PTSD refers to a group of symptoms that develop after exposure to a traumatic event, such as a major disaster (bushfire, floods), sexual or physical assault, motor vehicle accidents, and war, terrorism and torture. In some cases, PTSD can develop after repeated exposure to the details of traumatic events, which is a common experience of some emergency workers.
Each person feels the effects of trauma differently, and this can depend on the specific impacts of the trauma, personal life experience such as exposure to past trauma, and the state of mental health.
Common signs and symptoms of PTSD include:
- A sense of reliving the event, which often occurs through memories, nightmares or flashbacks
- Sleep problems
- Avoiding things that remind the person of the traumatic event
- Overly alert – constantly assessing for danger, difficulty sleeping, easily-startled, irritable, overprotective of families
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feeling detached from relationships
- Feeling intense fear
If untreated, PTSD can have a significant impact on one’s life, causing ongoing problems, including relationship problems, physical conditions (headaches and fatigue), sleep problems, difficulty working/working too much, and other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression or substance abuse. If PTSD persists for more than two weeks, it is important to seek advice from a trusted healthcare professional, such as your GP, who will likely refer you to a psychologist who specialises in PTSD.
Seeing a Psychologist
A trained Psychologist works collaboratively with you to develop and implement effective treatments that enable you to manage and recover from PTSD. Specific psychological treatments that have been proven to benefit those with PTSD include trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and exposure therapy.
We would be humbled to help you. You do not need a referral from your doctor to see our Practitioners, however, doing so may attract a medicare rebate. Best contact us for more information.