PTSD symptoms can follow a traumatic event
WHAT IS PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common reaction to traumatic events. For most people, the adverse reactions they experience following a traumatic event will lessen as time passes. However, some people continue to feel as if they are in the grip of some serious and current threat. When this occurs, the person is thought to be experiencing PTSD.
The symptoms of PTSD include:
repeated/unwanted reexperiencing of the traumatic event (flashbacks)
hyperarousal or feeling hyper-vigilant
emotional numbing/avoidance of anything that triggers trauma memories
HOW TO HELP MANAGE PTSD?
PTSD is also classified as an anxiety disorder. However, anxiety normally relates to thoughts or feelings associated with an impending threat. In the case of PTSD, the threat has already happened and the subsequent problems are associated with how a person negatively thinks about (appraises) memories of that threat. The way they negatively appraise the threat has the power to keep it feeling serious and current. These appraisals can create a powerful barrier to accepting and moving on from traumatic events.
In terms of treatment, the consensus has been for some time that several areas are important to address:
Talking about the trauma can help contextualise it in time and place and make trauma memories relate better to other non-traumatic memories. Trauma memories tend to be emotional or sensory memories: sights, sounds, smells, bodily sensations. This means these memories do not contain the words or language that could link them to rational memory. Instead, trauma memories remain without links to other established memories - this gives them their ‘here and now’ quality.
Maladaptive coping strategies: these can include safety behaviours or actions someone takes to avoid or minimise future negative outcomes. These seem a good idea in the short-term but they prevent the person from ever knowing if the bad thing would have happened or not, had the safety behaviour not been used.
HOW MUCH DOES COUNSELLING FOR PTSD COST?
Therapy lasts for 50 minutes and tends to cost between £50 and £60 for individual sessions and £75 for couples.
Counselling is most effective when conducted weekly for as long as feels helpful and productive. Your therapist will agree with you on the number of sessions that are likely to prove most effective but normally 6 sessions would be the optimal number for achieving lasting and sustainable results. The first initial session is free.
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