June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day, a time to talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, focusing on what it is, and urging people to seek help, for themselves or for someone they feel is suffering from it.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them.
This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror.
Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, but about 5-10% of Australians will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. That means that at any one time over 1 million Australians have PTSD.
The four main symptoms of PTSD.
- Re-living the traumatic event. For example, you might be troubled by distressing and unwanted memories of what happened, or have vivid nightmares or flashbacks
- Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event. For example, you might find yourself avoiding activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings that bring back memories of what happened.
- Having negative thoughts and feelings. For example, you may experience fear, anger or guilt, or feel ‘flat’ or numb.
- Feeling wound-up – you might have trouble sleeping, concentrating, or feel angry or irritable; you might find you are taking more risks, get easily startled, or feel as if you’re constantly on the lookout for danger.
It’s important to remember that people need help moving beyond harrowing events. Having PTSD is not a sign of weakness and no one should feel ashamed to seek help. If you need to talk to someone about depression or a crisis in your life, please consider calling:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- beyondblue on 1300 22 4636
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
LiveBig has a team of allied health professionals who deliver flexible support tailored to your individual needs and preferences. Contact us today to find out how we can support you.