PTSD and Trauma Counselling
Undergoing a terrifying experience can leave its marks. While it is normal to experience some form of distress for days and even weeks after a tragic incident, it usually goes away on its own after some time. But sometimes, the trauma caused by being involved in that situation can be so great that it can start interfering with your day to day life. In such cases, what you are experiencing is not normal sadness, but PTSD.
What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that is triggered by an extremely terrifying or stressful event. In PTSD, the shock does not go away on its own with time. Most commonly known for occurring in war veterans, PTSD was referred to as “Shell Shock” during world war 2. People with PTSD may have disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience. They feel sadness, fear, anger, despair and may also feel as if they are detached from other people.
Sometimes, the trauma can be so great that it can be difficult to come back to a normal way of living. People with PTSD have nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts, unpleasant emotions and even panic attacks. Although it's most common in war veterans, PTSD can happen to anyone that has been through terrifying circumstances. Victims of sexual and physical abuse, people that went through devastating accidents and terror attacks are also prone to PTSD.
It is completely normal to feel shocked and distressed for some days. If it has been longer than a few months since you experienced the trauma and it is still causing problems for you, then there are chances that you may have developed PTSD.
How to find a PTSD and Trauma Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect PTSD and Trauma therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a PTSD and Trauma therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD fall into four major categories.
- Recurrent and unwanted memories of the distressing event.
- Having flashbacks and reliving the trauma as if it is happening again.
- Upsetting dreams and nightmares about the event.
- Severe emotional distress when you remember the traumatic event or even having physical reactions.
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event.
- Avoiding people, places or anything that reminds you of the traumatic incident.
Negative thinking patterns
- Feelings of hopelessness about the future.
- Negative thoughts about the people around you and yourself.
- Difficulty thinking positive thoughts.
- Difficulty in maintaining close relationships.
- Memory impairment such as not properly remembering the details of the traumatic event.
- Feeling emotionally numb.
- Going into depression and losing interest in all activities you used to enjoy.
Changes in physical and emotional reactions
- Being easily frightened and feeling as if you’re on edge most of the time.
- Always being active and aware of possible dangers around you.
- Abusive behaviour towards oneself such as drinking, smoking too much. May also involve risky behaviour such as driving too fast.
- Trouble sleeping and finding it difficult to relax.
- Trouble concentrating on tasks.
- Being easily startled and aggressive behaviour, showing irritability and outbursts of anger or sadness.
- Overwhelming guilt or shame.
- Having thoughts about self-harm and suicide.
Causes of PTSD
PTSD is caused by being mainly involved in some extremely distressing or life-threatening experience. Even seeing or learning about actual or threatened death, sexual abuse or serious injury can pull people towards PTSD.
PTSD is caused by a complex mixture of:
- Stressful experiences and the severity of trauma you have gone through all your life.
- Having a family history of mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression.
- It also depends on your temperament and how you deal with problems in life. Some people have a genetic disposition and are more subjected to negative experiences than others.
- The imbalance of chemicals in your brain may also contribute to difficulty overcoming the experience.
- Having experienced some other trauma in life such as childhood abuse.
- Lacking good support from family and friends after the traumatic event.
- Having problems with substance abuse such as excessive drinking or drug abuse.
Recommended Treatments for PTSD
PTSD can be a challenging condition, but fortunately, several effective options are available that can help you regain your sense of control.
The aim of psychotherapy is to help people learn different ways with which they can manage their symptoms. It also informs people about the working of their disorders so they can better manage it. Here are some helpful therapies for PTSD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is a rationality based therapy. It is based on making people aware of their distorted thinking patterns and how they can change these beliefs and behaviours and learn new techniques to help rationalize their negative thinking. Instead of running away from what distresses you, you confront your thoughts and see them for their actual authenticity.
Prolonged exposure therapy
In prolonged exposure therapy, you intentionally confront your memories of the traumatic event instead of avoiding them. Continued and controlled exposure helps you adapt to your fears and look at them without emotionally reacting to them. By repetition, you no longer feel afraid as you once did and you get better control over your emotional reactions.
EMDR is a type of psychotherapy that is used for relieving psychological stress. It helps people recover from distress as a result of some disturbing life experiences. The use of EMDR can help you experience the benefits of psychotherapy that may take years to make a difference.
If people have been under trauma for extended periods, their brain chemicals can change and get out of proportion. This is why they get easily triggered and have emotional outbursts. To cope with this, medications can prove to be extremely efficient in rebalancing your brain to its natural state.
Although medications always come with side-effects of their own, you can consult your doctor and see whether you can get prescribed some antidepressants to help you control your impulsive thinking.
PTSD is a serious psychological disorder and it can devastate the quality of your life. While it might seem difficult, identifying and seeking proper treatment can help you deal with your symptoms in a short period. Getting in touch with your therapist can prove to be a big step for overcoming your PTSD and living a better life.
Further Readings on PTSD and Trauma
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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