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.
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. For example:
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:
PTSD can be managed if a person receives appropriate mental health care.
Psychiatrists are crucial to the effective treatment of PTSD. We can help with:
You will need a referral from your GP to access this service.
You will need a mental healthcare plan (MHCP) from your GP to access this service for Medicare rebates, unless paying privately.
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.