Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you have been subject to an extremely distressing situation such as an accident, assault or rape or have been subject to long-term abuse you may develop a reaction where you relive the event in “flashbacks”, nightmares or have intrusive memories of it. You may start avoiding the activity that led to the event such as driving, and experience intense fear of anything that reminds you of it. You may suffer insomnia and high levels of anxiety.

Not everyone experiencing psychological trauma goes on to develop PTSD but if you do you are in need of a diagnosis and expert evidence-based treatment which can include specific psychological therapies such as trauma-focussed CBT or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). Sometimes medication can reduce anxiety or nightmares.

Not all PTSD relates to one incident as the condition may occur as a response to repeated trauma over a longer period such as occurs in abuse situations or during professional exposure (police or fire-service work). The PTSD which occurs is commonly known as complex PTSD and requires specific therapies.

PTSD may be helped by the use of SSRI medication or anti-anxiety medication such as pregabalin. Nightmares may be reduced by the medication prazosin.