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PTSD

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You have experienced a serious event, such as an accident or a traumatic experience. The long-term psychological injury following that event is called PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

What Is PTSD?

PTSD is a long-term psychological injury resulting from trauma. Trauma causes, among other things, stress. When you are unable to properly process the trauma and the symptoms persist for an extended period, we refer to it as PTSD. The cause of PTSD is, therefore, trauma that you are unable to adequately process.

Trauma can occur due to a life event that is very shocking or frightening, such as a severe accident, sexual abuse, hospitalization, or emotional neglect. Some people manage to process their trauma on their own or with the help of others. Others cannot, and they develop psychological symptoms. The distressing events keep recurring and affect your thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

 

How do I know if I have PTSD?

If you develop PTSD, the following factors are early warning signs:

  • You are afraid of the danger that is actually behind you and no longer present at the moment.
  • You are often and constantly alert and on guard.
  • You feel tense because of this, you are easily startled.
  • You experience both psychological and physical symptoms.
  • Your symptoms are severe and do not go away on their own.
  • You are still experiencing symptoms even though the traumatic event occurred at least four weeks ago.

In some cases, symptoms do not appear until years after the traumatic event. You relive this event repeatedly and avoid places or people to avoid thinking about it. In this case, we speak of PTSD with delayed expression.

Do you recognize the first signs? When (some of) the symptoms of PTSD persist for more than a month, or only appear a long time after the traumatic event, we speak of post-traumatic stress disorder.

⮕ Read more about symptoms associated with PTSD.

Which symptoms you suffer from most varies from person to person. Similarly, recovering from PTSD is different for everyone.

 

Complex PTSD

A severe form of PTSD is complex PTSD. We speak of complex post-traumatic stress disorder when, in addition to the previously mentioned symptoms, there is also a low self-esteem, difficulty in trusting people, and you exhibit several specific PTSD symptoms.

There is a higher risk of complex PTSD when the traumatic events were extremely intense, occurred over a long period, involved childhood abuse or neglect, or if you are, for example, a war veteran.

 

DSM-5

PTSD can be categorized under anxiety disorders. After a traumatic event, the fear persists, and your body continually feels threatened and in danger. However, in the DSM-5 (the handbook for psychological disorders), post-traumatic stress disorder is no longer officially classified under anxiety disorders. Instead, it has been given its own category called “Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders.”

 

Is PTSD chronic?

No. PTSD is a psychological disorder that can be effectively treated. There are several proven effective treatment methods, such as EMDR and CBT.

We speak of chronic PTSD when your symptoms persist for more than three months. Many chronic illnesses remain present for life, but chronic PTSD is treatable. It is more challenging than treating short-term symptoms, but it is certainly not impossible.

 

Outlook

PTSD can affect your life in various ways. When you become more easily angry or irritated and don’t feel well, PTSD also impacts your family, friends, and household. Additionally, your work can suffer, especially since your ability to concentrate is not what it used to be.

 

More information

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    At iPractice, we use blended care. This is a combination of online and offline therapy. You’ll have face-to-face conversations with a consulting psychologist and you’ll also have access to an online psychologist in between. This means that you can ask questions and share your thoughts whenever you like.

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    PTSD can be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or EMDR. Your treatment will be tailored to you and your symptoms. With the right treatment you can make a good recovery from PTSD. Click here to learn more about treatments for PTSD.

After a traumatic event we often try to put it away. When this is no longer possible PTSD symptoms come up.
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GZ-Psychologist Nine Gramberg

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