Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


PTSD is a trauma that may develop after experiencing or witnessing actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence (called a trauma). This event could have led to a serious injury or death and they may have felt overwhelming fear, helplessness or horror.

Here are some examples of traumatic events:

  • domestic or family violence, dating violence.
  • community violence (shooting, mugging, burglary, assault, bullying)
  • sexual or physical abuse.
  • natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood, fire or earthquake.
  • a serious car accident.
  • sudden unexpected or violent death of someone close (suicide, accident)
  • serious injury (burns, dog attack)
  • major surgery or life-threatening illness (childhood cancer)
  • war or political violence (civil war, terrorism, refugee)

People react to experiences differently, even if they are in the same family. Even though many people will experience some trauma in their lives, many of them will not develop PTSD. The chances increase with how bad the trauma is and whether there has been trauma experiences in the past.


Signs and Symptoms

If the symptoms start after a traumatic event, and if the symptoms don’t go away, they might have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The symptoms can start right after the trauma or months or even years after.

Symptoms include:

  • having upsetting and disturbing memories, ‘pictures’ and thoughts stuck in their minds about what happened, and they are often called ‘flashbacks’.
  • nightmares
  • upset or have physical reactions when seeing or hearing reminders of the trauma (a siren, photo of a family member, door slamming, bedroom)
  • avoiding things that remind them of the trauma.
  • changes in thoughts and feelings as a result of the trauma. The survivor may forget parts of the trauma or be confused about when things happened.
  • think more negatively about themselves, others and the world blame themselves or others for the event.
  • feel negative emotions (anger, fear, horror, etc.) that wont’ go away
  • lose interest in things they used to enjoy
  • show little emotion after a trauma or not want to be around people
  • not be able to feel positive emotions (pleasure, satisfaction, etc.)

Our practitioners at SWPC are trained to assist with Simple Trauma and Complexed Trauma and use a range of modalities including EMDR to assist in the recovery of Trauma.

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