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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) emerges as an anxiety condition stemming from intensely distressing and alarming incidents.

The harrowing experiences that individuals find profoundly traumatic possess the potential to trigger PTSD. It may manifest soon after a disturbing event or remain dormant, surfacing weeks, months, or even years after the occurrence.

Approximately one in three individuals encountering trauma are believed to be impacted by PTSD, though the precise reasons why some individuals develop this condition while others do not still elude full comprehension.


  • Reliving the past through vivid flashbacks, haunting nightmares, and repetitive distressing images or sensations.
  • Engaging in avoidance and emotional numbness as a coping mechanism. This might involve staying away from specific people or places that trigger memories of the trauma and refraining from discussing the experience with others.
  • Hyperarousal, a state of being constantly on edge, often resulting in irritability, angry outbursts, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), and challenges with concentration.
  • Potential co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or phobias may arise in response to the traumatic event.
  • Individuals may resort to self-harming or destructive behaviors, including drug misuse or alcohol abuse, as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions.
  • Other physical symptoms may manifest, such as headaches, dizziness, chest pains, or stomach aches, reflecting the impact of the trauma on both the mind and body.

Treatment Options


When addressing PTSD that necessitates treatment, the preferred course of action is typically psychotherapy as the initial step. In situations where the severity or persistence of PTSD calls for a more comprehensive approach, a combination of psychotherapy and medication may be advised. Psychotherapy, an established therapeutic method, is extensively employed to address emotional challenges and various mental health conditions like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Experienced mental health professionals conduct these therapeutic sessions, attentively listening to your concerns and collaboratively devising effective strategies to overcome the challenges you are facing.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective therapeutic approach that aims to empower individuals in managing their challenges through a transformation of both thought patterns and behaviors. When it comes to trauma-focused CBT, a diverse array of psychological techniques are employed to help individuals come to terms with distressing events they may have experienced. For instance, clients are encouraged to confront their traumatic memories openly, reflecting upon their experiences in depth. Throughout this process, therapists provide essential support to cope with any distress while also identifying and addressing any unhelpful thoughts or misconceptions associated with the trauma. By altering negative thought patterns concerning the experience, therapists assist in regaining control over fear and distress, challenging notions of self-blame or anxieties about a possible recurrence. Moreover, gradual exposure to activities that may have been avoided since the traumatic event is encouraged, promoting a sense of empowerment and self-recovery. For instance, someone who experienced a car accident might be gently encouraged to resume driving over time. Typically, individuals engage in 8-12 weekly sessions of trauma-focused CBT, although the number of sessions required may vary depending on the individual's needs. Each session usually lasts around 60-90 minutes.

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) stands out as a cutting-edge therapeutic approach that exhibits promise in alleviating the distressing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The essence of this technique lies in engaging in horizontal eye movements, often guided by your therapist's gentle gestures, while revisiting the traumatic event. Alternately, therapists might employ finger-tapping or soothing auditory tones to facilitate the process. The underlying mechanisms driving EMDR's efficacy remain somewhat enigmatic, yet it has shown potential in transforming the way individuals perceive and process the aftermath of a traumatic encounter.


Various medications, such as paroxetine, sertraline, mirtazapine, amitriptyline, or phenelzine, have been employed at times to address PTSD in adults. These antidepressants might also be prescribed to alleviate concurrent depression and anxiety symptoms and to aid with sleep issues. Nonetheless, their administration to individuals under 18 years of age is typically avoided, except upon the recommendation of a specialist. When medication proves effective in managing PTSD, the treatment is usually maintained for a minimum of 12 months, gradually tapering off over a period of four weeks or more. In case the current medication fails to alleviate symptoms adequately, adjustments to the dosage may be considered. Your doctor will make sure to discuss potential side effects that might arise during the course of the treatment, as well as any possible withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing the medication.

Discover coping strategies

Self-help guide

If you suspect that you might be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), taking the initiative to consult your general practitioner (GP) and sharing your worries is crucial. While awaiting an evaluation from your GP or a qualified mental health specialist, utilizing the self-help guide for PTSD and CPTSD could offer valuable assistance in handling symptoms.