- 12 % of Australians will experience post-traumatic stress disorder in their lifetime.
- Serious accidents are one of the major causes of PTSD in Australia.
- Anybody can develop PTSD, women are more likely to develop PTSD compared to men.
- 86% of men, 77% of women with PTSD are likely to have another disorder, such as, depression, anxiety or substance use disorder.
- PTSD diagnosis, symptoms must last for more than one month, create distress or functional impairment.
- People with PTSD can make a full recovery.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a group of stress responses that can develop after the person witnesses a traumatic incident or event, such as death of a loved one, serious injury, accident, incident, war, torture, natural disaster (bushfires, flood, earthquakes) or physical or sexual violence to themselves or to others. These traumatic events might occur over a period of time, or can be a single event.
Around one million Australians experience PTSD in anyone year.
Trauma exposure is the initiating factor behind PTSD, however, there could be additional factors that might contribute to the likelihood of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. We need to consider that an event which is traumatising for one person, may not be traumatising for another person.
- Biological and neurological factors
- Social past experiences
- Societal factors
- History of mental health
- Genetical factors
- Life stressors
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD has four main types of symptoms:
1. Re-living the traumatic event:
- unwanted and repeated recollections of events, flashbacks or intense nightmares.
- Reliving the event which could leads to sweating, heart palpitations or panic.
2. Avoiding reminders of the event:
- thoughts, emotional state, people, places, activities, conversations or circumstances that bring back memories of the event.
3. Negative changes in feelings and thoughts after trauma:
- feeling angry, afraid, guilty, flat or numb,
- developing beliefs such as “I’m bad” or “The world’s unsafe”
- feeling detached from others
4. Being overly alert or ‘edge’:
- indicated by sleeping difficulties, irritability, lack of attentiveness, becoming easily frightened and continually being on the lookout for signs of danger.