PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a common condition that affects people who have experienced a traumatic event, have witnessed a traumatic event or have heard about a loved one experiencing such an event. The symptoms of PTSD may start after the event or months or years after the event has passed. Not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD.
If you are looking for help for PTSD, you may recognise some of these symptoms. Because your autonomous nervous system is hyperaroused, you often experience the bodily symptoms usually triggered by a dangerous situation. But the danger is no longer there. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Cold sweat
- Rapid breathing
- Heart palpitations
When some of these symptoms become chronic, they can result in:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Sexual dysfunction
- Difficulty concentrating
If you remember the traumatic event (or being told or witnessed it), you may also have the following symptoms:
- Flashbacks (or nightmares)
- Avoiding situations reminding you of the event
You may or may not develop all of these symptoms. If you are in doubt whether you have PTSD, consult your GP or contact a qualified psychotherapist.
If you have PTSD, your nervous system is hyperaroused due to your previous experience. You can look for help for PTSD in a relaxation, meditation or mindfulness regular class (yoga, tai chi, qi gong). This will help your nervous system calm down. Additionally, look for help for PTSD with a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist to find out what triggered your PTSD and start processing your trauma.