Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a condition caused by experiencing a highly distressing event, such as life-threatening incident, assault, serious injury/death to someone else, unexpected death of someone close.
The person suffers from recurrent and intrusive memories, nightmares and flashbacks (visions/sounds) of the traumatic event. This results in a state of re-living the event, bringing back the associated emotional state causing severe and intense anxiety.
This may cause avoidance of situations which are associated with the trauma, such as television programs.
There may also be feeling of numbness, detachment and depression. Sleep and appetite can also be affected.
These symptoms can be very disabling, affecting the personal, social and work life.
The condition requires careful evaluation and management.
PTSD symptoms respond to treatment with both psychological and pharmacological interventions.
For example - Trauma focused CBT.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is a technique with good evidence and can resolve PTSD symtoms successfully, by helping to process the memories of the traumatic event, therefore the emotional response. Patients who successfully undergo EMDR report that the emotional response is no longer present when the trauma is remembered.
Antidepressant medications such as Paroxetine and anxiolytic medications can also be helpful in certain situations. The risks and benefits require careful consideration.