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Dealing With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By: Catherine Chadwick - Updated: 20 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Ptsd

In the course of our lives we are all exposed to distressing events of one sort or another. In time we get over these and put them into some kind of perspective. Some of us though find ourselves exposed to situations that are extremely unsettling and unexpected. When they impact us strongly, we refer to these as traumas.

What Is Trauma?
We are designed to be able to process the events of our everyday lives including its stresses and strains. Sometimes however we may experience occurrences which overwhelm our ability to easily process what has happened. This may occur when there has been some kind of physical threat including threat to our life. It can also occur in other situations where there is no threat to the body but the person experiences an unexpected event that provokes a stress response. In some cases, the person may forget all or part of the incident.

Responses to unexpected, stressful situations of this nature may include anxiety and/or depression. The person may also have difficulty sleeping, feel disorientated, be unable to concentrate and have physical symptoms of sweating, trembling and palpitations. Moods may also be unpredictable. The person may cope with the event by avoiding all thought or discussion about what has taken place. Some may also deny that the event has taken place.In many cases, the symptoms will subside within a short period of time. Where this does not occur, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may be diagnosed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The criteria for this condition are described in the DSM IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is the recognised reference book for health professionals. According to the DSM IV, in order for a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to be made, both of the following must be present:

a) The person experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event that involved actual or threatened harm, injury or death

b) The person responded with intense fear, helplessness or horror.

The person may re-experience the event through images and thoughts. They may have recurring dreams. There may be a sense of re-experiencing the event with flashbacks, and great distress when coming into contact with anything that resembles an aspect of the traumatic event. Avoidance activity may take place so that thoughts, feelings and conversations about the event are avoided as are activities, people or places that remind the person of any aspect of the trauma. The person may feel numb and/or detached from others.

They may also have sleep disturbances, be excessively vigilant, irritable and find it difficult to concentrate. Thus the symptoms may cause significant distress and interference with normal activity.

Hypnotherapy Treatment
Naturally, the majority of people experiencing these distressing symptoms want to be free of them so that life can return to normal again. Hypnotherapy presents a means of doing this in a controlled way. There are many techniques at a hypnotherapist's disposal that can help the individual put the event into a perspective where it is less disturbing. The client's inner strength is boosted and resources of safety enhanced so that the person feels in a position to work with the trauma. By accessing the event in a controlled way, resolution of the issue can take place.

If you have had a traumatic experience and you recognise some of the symptoms, do seek help. Getting back to your old way of life is possible. Find yourself a hypnotherapist who is experienced in dealing with PTSD that you feel comfortable with and start the process of getting your life back.

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