Post traumatic stress disorder is a remarkably common anxiety disorder that is caused by the unhelpful processing of a traumatic event.
For most people after a traumatic event, remembering the event causes them a lot of anxiety, but over time, this fades, and they are able to get back to a normal life.
For reasons that are becoming increasingly well known, for some people the natural healing process following trauma does not kick in, and the person remains stuck in the trauma, often experiencing unpleasant flash backs during their normal activities.
The more severe the trauma, the more likely this is to happen.
PTSD can often be complicated with a phobia for the circumstances of the initial trauma.
Sufferers often self medicate with drink and drugs to help them cope.
Sometimes people can have multiple unresolved traumas.
This is the case if a child was brought up in say an abusive household.
‘Complex PTSD’, as it is called, is often misdiagnosed as a personality disorder.
It is possible to make a significant improvement in PTSD symptoms with modern techniques, and some people experience a complete removal of symptoms.
The CBT approach to PTSD is to first pay careful attention to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Together we come to a shared understanding of what is going on.
Once we agree in psychotherapy on the process of your particular symptoms, we introduce psychotherapy techniques to help you cope better.
You might also be interested in EMDR, a form of psychotherapy that is very helpful with traumatic memories.