MGF Counselling Services
M. Glenys Forrester (B.Sc.Psych) (M.Sc.Psych) (Member C.P.P.A)

Post-Traumatic Stress

PTSD can emerge when a person has witnessed or directly experienced acute stress over a long period of time. The stress endured has usually been accompanied by feelings of helplessness on the part of the person who has endured the stress and extreme anxiety related to the incident or event. First diagnosed in soldiers returning from situations of being under threat of death for long periods of time, it is now recognised in others who are traumatised by other events. Many people often seek help from their primary care physician where the symptoms are often attributed to the onset of physical illness. The symptoms described often include trembling, dizziness, sweating, irritability, restlessness, hyperventilation (panting or over-breathing), pain, heartburn and headaches. All these symptoms could, of course, be associated with physical illness and such indications should be explored and eliminated before embarking upon alternative treatments.

A person with PTSD will have persistent feelings of re-experiencing the traumatic situation, a reliving of the stress associated with the event and stimulated by unexpected triggers. They will describe symptoms of nightmares, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating and angry outbursts. Treatment often requires anti-anxiety medication  and/or counselling and psychotherapy allowing the patient to re-explore, in safety, the traumatic event in order to reduce its impact.

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