We have had few weeks of educational and uplifting times understanding trauma and trauma based violence while we would be moving on temporarily from this, let’s have a brief recap about this very common but often overlooked disorder in our environment.

A brief recap…

PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by any terrifying event either by experiencing or witnessing it. The event may not happen to you directly but hearing or seeing it happen to another can make it terrifying for you.  In most cases people get over it with time and good self-care but in extreme cases, it can aggravate to become a disorder.

Its common symptoms include;

* negative changes in thinking and mood,

* avoidance of reminders of events,

* changes in physical and emotional reactions and also,

* intrusive memories.

Events that start it includes;

* serious accidents (such as car or boat/ship wrecks)

* natural disasters (such as floods or fires)

* man-made tragedies (such as bombings, kidnaping, raping etc)

* violent personal attacks (such as rape, torture, being held captive, or near death experiences)

* military combat or even survival.

* abuse in childhood, abuse in relationship or in marriage

Sometimes there are trauma sources that leave no mark on you i.e. Emotional abuse, Psychological abuse. Many of the people with the disorders develop this immediately after the traumatic event, some after a month, some after many years later. These symptoms can interfere significantly with one’s social life, work life or relationships making positive daily living difficult. Having an understanding about mental disorders is very important in this time.

If you are in this shoe “You are not alone…”

It’s not unusual for someone with trauma related disorders to believe they’re alone with their feelings, of course it’s difficult for others to feel exactly the way you feel but about 8 million people are PTSD sufferers per time and we believe its underreported. Again, clinicians estimate that about 8 people out of every 100 will develop PTSD during their lifetime. The more we speak up about PTSD, the more sufferers and their loved ones know they aren’t alone. This can make it easier to seek/ask for help.

We are all victims “Not only females are victims…”

Both men and women experience traumatic events, but women tend to develop PTSD more often than men. Statistics show about 4% of men develop PTSD at some point in their life compared to up to 10% of women, although overall, fewer women are exposed to traumatic events. Researchers don’t know exactly why more women develop PTSD, but it could have something to do with the types of assaults and traumatic events women may be exposed to.

We learnt about Duration too…!

To have a PTSD diagnosis we need to have the symptoms for at least one month, however, it can take several months, even years before the symptoms start interfering with living. Some people experience PTSD-like symptoms right after a traumatic event (acute stress disorder), this won’t necessarily go on to become PTSD but can, if untreated.

Also that Symptoms vary…

Same disorder but different symptoms related to PTSD. Some people become more avoidant, jumpy or hopeless, emotionally numb. While some become volatile, irritable/angrier and may turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with their feelings.

Children can also develop PTSD…

We already know adults develop PTSD but children too can! Though with slightly different ways of expression; about 3% to 15% of girls who are traumatized develop PTSD and 1% to 6% of boys do. Many of the children who develop PTSD have regressed behavior, difficulty concentrating in school, enuresis (sometimes), withdrawal, tantrums etc. We should not ignore a child with trauma, parents/caregivers should encourage their children to express their feelings and thoughts without judgment.

You don’t have to be the primary victim to experience PTSD…

One can develop PTSD if someone close to him/her was in a traumatic situation or someone you lost was injured or died, even by hearing the details of the story of the event. This often occurs among first responders, such as police, firefighters and paramedics because of the situations they handle. Other professionals who work with trauma victims, like emergency room doctors, nurses and psychologists, can also develop secondary PTSD.

Most importantly…

It may be difficult to fully understand someone with PTSD, know that this person is not just having a tough time it’s a disorder that can be treated. The memory and nervous system of someone with PTSD is especially vulnerable, which leads to behavior or feelings such as being overly alert, angry, irritable, depressed, or untrusting. A supportive social circle is a good way to start but not the solution.

People with PTSD need to learn to reconnect the brain – thoughts, feelings and behavior in a different way and these can be learnt using various psychotherapies (and medications as needed). Exposure therapy is one of the most effective treatment options but must only be done with a trusted and qualified therapist, in an environment where the client feels safe. With the help of a licensed and trained therapist, you go back in your mind to the trauma and deal with the cognition.

Contact your therapist today [email protected] , 081 2827 6962, +234 2291 4084.