PTSD involves a person being exposed to any situation which is traumatic to them, for example, death, serious injury or sexual violence.

A person with PTSD has four main types of difficulties:

Re-living the traumatic event through unwanted and recurring memories, flashbacks or vivid nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions when reminded of the event, including sweating, heart palpitations or panic.

Avoiding reminders of the event, such as thoughts, feelings, people, places, activities or situations that bring back memories of the event.

Negative changes in feelings and thoughts, such as feeling angry, afraid, guilty, flat or numb, developing beliefs such as “I’m bad” or “The world’s unsafe”, and feeling cut off from others.

Being overly alert or ‘wound up’ indicated by sleeping difficulties, irritability, lack of concentration, becoming easily startled and constantly being on the lookout for signs of danger.

The causes of PTSD are through direct exposure, witnessing a trauma, indirect (learning that a close relative or friend was exposed) or repeated exposure (e.g. first responders and soldiers). This does not include exposure through movies or TV.

What can be done?

PTSD symptoms are experienced by many in the first few weeks after the trauma, but most disappear within two weeks. Treatment involves counselling although medication may help (but not in the first month as symptoms may resolve without). Support from family and friends and reducing stress are important.

What help is there?

Using relaxation and monitoring apps may help to calm the individual. For a of digital programs see:

Grounding Techniques help to keep someone in the present. They help reorient a person to the here-and-now and in reality. Grounding skills can help manage overwhelming feelings or intense anxiety. They help someone to regain their mental focus from an often intensely emotional state. Grounding skills occur within two specific approaches: Sensory Awareness and Cognitive Awareness. For further support & advice contact EAP Assist.