Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. These events can include serious road accidents, natural disasters, violent personal assaults or any event where the person experiencing it perceived it to be stressful, frightening or distressing. PTSD can develop in any situation where a person feels extreme fear, horror or helplessness. However, it doesn't usually develop after situations that are simply upsetting, such as divorce, job loss or failing exams.
How common is PTSD

PTSD affects up to 30% of people who experience a traumatic event. It affects around 5% of men and 10% of women at some point during their life.

PTSD can occur at any age, including during childhood.

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD usually develop during the first month after a person witnesses a traumatic event. However, in a minority of cases (less than 15%), there may be a delay of months or even years before symptoms start to appear.

Some people with PTSD experience long periods when their symptoms are less noticeable. This is known as symptom remission. These periods are often followed by an increase in symptoms. Others present with severe symptoms that are constant.

At Cork Cognitive Therapy re-experiencing the event is the most typical symptom of PTSD. Here a person will involuntarily and vividly relive the traumatic event in the form of flashbacks, nightmares or repetitive and distressing images or sensations. Being reminded of the traumatic event can evoke distressing memories and cause considerable anguish.

Other symptoms include trying to avoid memories of the event, or being constantly reminded of the events by certain people or circumstances, others still will try and push the event out of their mind because they don't like thinking or talking about it.

Someone with PTSD may find themselves very anxious and find it difficult to relax. They may be constantly aware of threats and easily startled. Others with PTSD deal with their feelings by trying not to feel anything at all. This is known as emotional numbing. They may feel detached or isolated from others, or guilty. PTSD if left untreated can sometimes leads to the breakdown of relationships and causes work-related problems.

Treating PTSD

PTSD can be successfully treated, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event. Any treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and how soon they occur after the traumatic event. At Cork Cognitive Therapy we offer CBT for PTSD.

CBT is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and act. Trauma-focused CBT uses a range of psychological treatment techniques to help you come to terms with the traumatic event. For example, replacing negative thoughts associated with the traumatic event with positive ones. The aim is to help you work through the trauma and gain control of your fear and distress.