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Understanding What PTSD Is

what PTSD

Understanding What PTSD Is

Understanding What PTSD Is                                          

Understanding what PTSD is, is necessary to raise the awareness of the general public surrounding the subject. The term PTSD is often misused in modern society, with little understanding of what it means. However, this can be detrimental to those with PTSD, belittling their personal experiences and feelings with what PTSD means to them.

What PTSD Means?

PTSD is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Furthermore, it occurs where someone has experienced a traumatic event. Examples of what situations can cause PTSD include:
· Sexual assault
· Physical assault
· Natural disasters
· Bereavement

The Facts

PTSD can occur to anybody. At any age. At least 50% of people will experience some form of trauma in their lives. However, 80% of these people will suffer some form of short-term stress. In contrast, in the UK alone, approximately 6,665,000 people will be diagnosed with PTSD. Unfortunately, PTSD continues to be one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized mental conditions in the world.

The Stigma Surrounding PTSD

Many people think that PTSD is something soldiers get after fighting in a war. Unfortunately, it is not that simple or clear-cut. Many people believe that what PTSD means is a fixation on the past. In addition may suggest getting over it and moving on. However, this is also incorrect. PTSD is not a sign of weakness or even a choice. Furthermore, the severity of the effects of how PTSD can impact daily life can range from triggering flashbacks to the inability to function normally day to day.


Furthermore, PTSD symptoms manifest can vary from person to person. Additionally, a single person can experience different symptoms throughout their lifetime. Some of which may be permanent. Some may be more fluid.
· Intense fear
· Panic
· The feeling of hopelessness
· Guilt
· Anger
· Anxiety
Symptoms of  how PTSD affects somebody's life are often so difficult to recognize. A person will usually develop other issues due to their PTSD. These can include depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and other mental or physical conditions.


Just as every symptom is unique to them, a trigger is also uniquely different. However, there are a few triggers that are generalized across the board. These include:
· Places
· People
· Situations
· Smells
· Sounds
Someone with PTSD needs to be familiar with their triggers. If the sufferer knows what triggers them, they can take active steps to avoid becoming overwhelmed. However, you can never be 100% prepared. Some people may have unknown triggers. As a result, sufferers need to have a support system behind them. A good understanding of what to do when they are triggered is also helpful.

Categories of PTSD

PTSD symptoms can come under four main categories. It is vital to know and understand the psychological symptoms, but it is also crucial to note that there are also physical symptoms. These can include an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and nausea are all common symptoms.
· Reliving - Where a person will often have flashbacks of the incident including, nightmares and hallucinations
· Avoiding - The sufferer can avoid places, people, or situations that remind them of the incident. Additionally, this often leads to feelings of being alone, isolated
· Negative moods - This often includes feelings of blame, guilt, and estrangement
· Increased mood changes - Excessive emotions, irritability, outbursts of anger, and easily startled all fall under this category

Are Some People More at Risk?

Some people can be more susceptible to developing PTSD:
· People under constant stress
· Those with a history of anxiety and depression
· Experienced repeated trauma
· Little to no support system
· Work in a high-risk job (armed services or front line workers)
· People who have been in foster care as a child
· You are an asylum seeker or refugee

People are more at risk of experiencing PTSD if the effects of the trauma are not validated and addressed at the time. It leads to the psychological symptoms being unable to be improved. The individual will continue to face their symptoms which may get worse over time.

Secondary Trauma

For somebody supporting individuals with PTSD, it can become common to experience something called Secondary trauma. PTSD for secondary trauma sufferers means that consistently hearing about the traumatic event has negatively impacted their lives. It is just as harmful as PTSD. As a result of this, people suffering from secondary trauma should seek help and knowledge about limiting the effects of the trauma on their lives.

Complex PTSD

Unlike ordinary PTSD formed after a single traumatic event, complex PTSD is from prolonged trauma such as abuse and neglect. Experts have been conflicted on whether CPTSD is a more severe form of PTSD or a whole new condition entirely. While CPTSD does share some of the baseline line symptoms of PTSD, it has additional symptoms:
· Suicidal thoughts that occur regularly
· Feelings of being permanently worthless or damaged
· Dissociative traits
· Much more intense and regular physical symptoms (chest pains, headaches, stomach pains)
· Feeling permanently isolated
· Difficulty recognizing and regulating everyday emotions

What Can You do to Help Sufferers

If someone you know has PTSD, Secondary trauma, or Complex PTSD, there are a few things that you can do to show your support.


Firstly, the most simple thing you can do is listen. If you have no idea how to help, listening can be helpful for the person to let out everything on their mind. In addition, often hearing them say their troubles out loud to another person can begin to make them realize the situation they are in and how they should seek further professional help.

Do Not Judge

Most importantly, not judging someone for the experiences they have gone through is crucial. Passing judgment for a situation they had no control over and their response can harm the person. As a result, this can send them deeper into a shame spiral or move them further away from seeking help.

Help Them Seek Professional Help

Finally, as an individual, there is only so much you can do to help somebody suffering from PTSD. Encouraging the person to seek professional advice and help such as therapy will help them on their journey to recovery. Additionally, it shows them that somebody is there to support them and they are not alone.

Written by Guest Writer

Hattie Bickley

If you, or someone you know is struggling With PTSD, Our Experts are here to support you. You are not alone.

Out of Hours Support then Contact the Samaritans


Does PTSD Go Away?

For many people, the effects of PTSD will get better over time. However, for some people, they can be lifelong problems.

Can PTSD Be Cured?

There is no proven cure for PTSD. There are, however, many forms of treatment to alleviate some of the symptoms.

How can you tell if someone has PTSD?

People with PTSD may experience:
· Hyperarousal
· Sleeping problems
· Concentration issues
· Outbursts of anger
· Irritability

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