Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety which develops after experiencing or witnessing unsettling or traumatic events. It is often understood in context of wars. However, events like natural disasters, serious injury/accidents, separation or loss of a loved one, sexual violence, terrorist attacks can cause trauma or PTSD. Even indirect exposure to threatening events can result in such anxiety, for example, in the case of families of army personnel, police officials or journalists regularly covering rape and abuse, etc.
Prolonged “Flight or Fight” response in traumatic situations can make adjusting to normal life for a person difficult even after the event has passed. They may experience a range of emotions like shock, sadness, fear, stress or even remorse. While for most people this phase after trauma passes, some develop anxiety due to overwhelming emotions. This anxiety is coupled with other experiences that one must look for to ascertain PTSD.
Some common markers are:
When do I need help?
It is normal to experience the above-mentioned symptoms for some time after the traumatic event. However, if these symptoms persist long after the event has passed or become worse over time, one should consider help. Occasionally these symptoms develop much later and can persist for months. One must contact a mental health professional if the symptoms interferes with daily functioning and impacts important aspects of life such as work or relationships.
How therapy will help in this situation?
Counselling educates about trauma, its effects and how it led to development of particular symptoms. It helps understand the association of feelings of guilt, shame or blame with the actual traumatic event. It also helps identify triggers and equip with skills to react to it such as relaxation or anger management
Here are some therapies which assist with dealing with PTSD. Therapists may use any or a combination of these depending on the specific circumstances of their clients.
Anger issues rarely exist in isolation and can be caused by underlying mental health issues such as bipolar disorder. Unresolved, they can result in negative coping strategies such as alcohol or drug dependencies. Working with a counsellor to manage anger can greatly improve a person’s mental health and bring a sense of calm into a person’s life.