Signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If you're struggling at the moment because you've been involved in a traumatic event, then you might be wondering if you're showing the signs of PTSD.
I really hope I can help you here - but just in case you've landed on this page first, do hop over to Part 1 to begin with. In Part 1 you can find an explanation of post traumatic stress disorder, and also a list of 10 of the most common Symptoms of PTSD.
How quickly will you recover after an incident?
'Post traumatic stress disorder' symptoms largely subside within a matter of days after the incident. More severe symptoms take a bit longer to subside, and may do so very gradually. Most likely you'll feel much better and possibly have recovered completely after about 4 - 6 weeks.
You will need the reassurance of supportive people and familiar (safe) surroundings. I'd only advise you to seek help if your symptoms remain troublesome. For example, if they don't appear to subside, or there are residual symptoms of various degrees. In that case I'd encourage you to go to your doctor and/or ask for help from a trauma counsellor.
If you continue to suffer from severe or acute anxiety symptoms in particular, then I'd definitely suggest you get some help sooner rather than later.
What will help you is doing some meditation or use a hypnosis download to help you calm down sooner rather than later and so reduce your symptoms of PTSD.
You could feel traumatised by an emotional blow, because of what you've heard, witnessed or been through. The same counts: you're likely to begin to settle within a few days and you should be well on your way to recovery within a month or so. Counselling (in particular, trauma counselling) can be really helpful if you're really struggling. The definition of what 'trauma' ultimately is a very personal one.
When it's time to seek help
14 Signs and Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
About 4 - 6 weeks following the traumatic event, trauma counselling may be helpful if several of the following apply to you*:
- You were already stressed before; perhaps there were already difficulties at home or at work
- You've been traumatised before - in your personal or working life
- You felt your life was in danger - maybe because of your job, an attack, a medical emergency or an accident
- You wish you'd done more - for instance, in a situation where lots of other people were involved, you may feel that you could have saved someone
- You wish you'd acted differently - for example you may have thoughts like: if only you hadn't done this or that, you wouldn't have been there, or someone else wouldn't have been there
- You feel ashamed about something
- You continue to feel very angry, maybe feel that someone is to blame for the event and you can't get rid of that thought
- You do all you can to avoid being confronted with (aspects of) the event - you avoid thinking or talking about it, the people connected with it, or programmes about it and so on
- You have little accessible support - maybe you have friends and family, but you don't perceive them as very supportive, or maybe there are only a few people you know, like and/or trust.
- You can't get on with your life, you feel stuck. Even if the event happened ages ago, other people think you should have got over it by now. But to you, it seems it happened only yesterday.
- You can't cope with normal day-to-day activities - they seem so mundane in comparison with what you've been through, or you just can't concentrate on the job in hand. Maybe you feel you can't be bothered, or just seem completely 'incapable' for some reason.
- You're drinking more alcohol than you would normally. Perhaps it's helping you to get to sleep. Or maybe it helps to dampen the impact of the images, or at least slow down your constantly whirring thoughts.
- You smoke more - perhaps that's how you've always dealt with stress and now you need it more than ever. Maybe you're taking (illegal) drugs and/or medicine to cope with all the above.
- You're suffering from acute stress symptoms - you may experience panic attacks and nightmares.
*Adapted from the Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) programme initially developed by British army mental health professionals Major Norman Jones and Capt. Peter Roberts OBE (Retired), introduced into the Royal Navy and Royal Marines by Prof Neil Greenberg and Cameron March MBE Royal Marines (Retired).
Capt. Peter Roberts is still treating traumatised soldiers every day. Both Major Norman Jones and Prof Neil Greenberg are at the forefront of research into trauma and TRiM at the King's Centre for Military Health Research.
During my years with a large UK Police Service I was the Lead TRiM Co-ordinator. Have a look at my Testimonials for a link to the Chief Constable's Certificate of Merit and a testimonial from the Police Federation of England and Wales.
Join me now in Part 3 to learn more about TRiM, and to see how something positive really can come out of a traumatic event...
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