Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a treatable anxiety disorder affecting around one million Australians each year.
It happens when fear, anxiety and memories of a traumatic event don't go away. The feelings last for a long time and interfere with how people cope with everyday life.
What causes PTSD?
PTSD can be caused by traumatic experiences that involve death, serious injury, or sexual violence (actual or threatened). Psychiatrists think that PTSD is caused by the brain laying down memories in the wrong place. During the traumatic event it is as if the
brain gets overwhelmed. The memories get filed in the ‘immediate action’ part of the brain, instead of the normal place.
Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event gets PTSD. In people who don't, it’s thought that the brain gradually comes to terms with the memories and they are no longer as vivid.
For people with PTSD, these memories are as distressing and immediate as when the event first happened.
The event could be something that has happened to you, or something you have seen.
- a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood or bushfire
- a major car crash or other serious accident
- severe physical injury
- rape or sexual assault
- domestic violence
- war or other attack
- witnessing murder or violent death
- a traumatic birth experience
But everyone responds to trauma differently. Even if an event makes someone very distressed, most will eventually recover on their own. Only a minority of people develop PTSD after a traumatic event.
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms can vary greatly, from subtle changes in day-to-day life, withdrawal and numbness, to distressing flashbacks or physical anxiety. The main symptoms of PTSD are:
- intrusive memories of the event that you have no control over
- distress when you come across things that remind you of the event
- physical symptoms like sweating or heart palpitations
- feeling watchful or ‘on guard‘
- trouble sleeping
- angry or emotional outbursts
- blaming yourself for the events
- feeling like there is nothing to look forward to
If you notice any of these symptoms, and they are affecting your daily life, it’s important to seek help.
Management of PTSD
PTSD can be managed if a person receives appropriate mental health care.
How can we help?
Psychiatrists are crucial to the effective treatment of PTSD.
We can help with:
- diagnosing PTSD
- treating PTSD with psychological treatments
- treating any depression or anxiety
- treating alcohol or drug issues
- prescribing medication
- keeping track of your physical health and any side effects of medication
- admitting you to hospital if required
- connecting you to community supports
PTSD can be a long lasting and disabling condition. It can have a devastating impact on individuals, relationships and families. It can also lead to other conditions such as depression or substance abuse. However, with the right support and treatment, recovery is possible.
At Hellodoc, we have Psychiatrists and Psychologists who can assess, diagnose, and manage PTSD and related conditions.
If you and your loved ones need assessment, please contact us after obtaining a referral from your GP.
The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please speak to your doctor for advice about your situation. HelloDoc is not liable for any consequences arising from relying on this information.