Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. This may have involved threat of death or injury to the person or others, and caused feelings of helplessness, horror, or extreme fear. PTSD symptoms include:
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event by frequently recalling and thinking about it, dreaming about it in nightmares, or becoming extremely upset by things or situations that remind you of the event.
- Avoiding things or situations that remind you of the traumatic event, or having a numbing of responsiveness.
- Feeling less interested in others, feeling alienated from others, and feeling unable to experience positive emotions.
- Finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep, finding it difficult to concentrate, being extremely watchful and easily irritated.
If you have been suffering from the symptoms that are mentioned above for more than one month after experiencing a traumatic event, you may be suffering from PTSD.
Factors which increase the likelihood of developing PTSD
It has been found that people who are suffering from depression or other anxiety disorders, have experienced trauma when they were children, or are generally anxious or insecure are more likely to develop PTSD after going through a traumatic event. Many people who have experienced domestic abuse, have developed PTSD.
It has been found that experiencing traumatic injuries by another person, is more likely to cause PTSD than traumatic injuries caused by an accident or natural disaster. This could be because along with the fear for your life, your trust in other people and your sense of safety within your family is shaken. Both emotional and physical abuse can lead to someone experiencing PTSD.
Denial, extreme guilt, blocking out memories and detaching yourself from the abusive event have also been found to raise the chances of developing PTSD. Remember that you are not to blame for your partner’s behaviour. Someone’s social environment will also influence their experience of PTSD. Having a positive and strong social circle, where one feels taken care of can make it easier for someone to overcome PTSD.
For people who have experienced an abusive partner who tried to isolate them from their family and friends may find it more difficult to reach out to their social circles. If you feel unable to reach out to friends or family about your mental health or experiences, consider getting in touch with an organisation who can offer you support.
If you feel that you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD, you might find it useful to view our information on treatments available.