Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It's natural to be afraid and upset something terrible happens to you or someone you know. But sometimes people experience an event that is so overwhelming that it continues to have a serious effect on them, long after the danger has passed. You might have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Fortunately, even if you have PTSD, you can get treatment and feel better.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to traumatic events where one was exposed to or witnessed danger, such as with violence or disasters.
Can PTSD happen to me?PTSD can happen to anyone, at any age, at any time. PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a frightening/traumatic event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later when another event triggers those suppressed memories.
The emotions and feelings are not processed and the event remains until triggers bring it back and affect our function in the here and now.
So what is PTSD?
Living through or seeing something that's upsetting and dangerous can cause PTSD. This can include, but is not limited to the following:
Being a victim of violence, or seeing violence
War or combat
Being a first responder such as a paramedic, police officer or firefighter
Car accidents and plane crashes
Hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires
Violent crimes, like a robbery or shooting
The death or serious illness of a loved one
Any event too powerful to be emotionally processed at the time
Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD.
Do I have PTSD?
If you are wondering if you may have PTSD, you can take the following screening questionnaire, developed by Breslau and colleagues (Breslau, 1999).
If you answer yes to four or more questions, it indicates a high likelihood of having PTSD, and you should speak with a health care professional. As the questionnaire is for screening purposes only, it is not a substitute for diagnosis, or seeing a health professional. If you have any concerns at all, speak with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
If you have been through traumatic events (such as violence, crime, combat or abuse).
As a result of that event, do you avoid being reminded of this experience by staying away from certain places, people or activities? Yes/No
Did you lose interest in activities that were once important or enjoyable? Yes/No
Did you begin to feel more isolated or distant from other people? Yes/No
Did you find it hard to have love or affection for other people? Yes/No
Did you begin to feel that there was no point in planning for the future? Yes/No
After this experience were you having more trouble than usual falling asleep or staying asleep? Yes/No
Did you become jumpy or get easily startled by ordinary noises or movements? Yes/No
Special thanks for Dr. Breslau and colleagues (Breslau N, Peterson E, Kessler R, Schultz L: Short screening scale for DSM-IV post-traumatic stress disorder. The American Journal of Psychiatry 1999;156:908-911.)
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, can be easily startled, may encounter flashbacks, and can often feel haunted by the event(s).
Symptoms of PTSD can be terrifying. They may disrupt your life and make it hard to continue with your daily activities. It may be hard just to get through the day.
PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not happen until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than 4 weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you probably have PTSD.
There are four types of symptoms: reliving the event, avoidance, numbing, and feeling keyed up.
Untreated, PTSD can lead to many problems, and can essentially prevent a person from leading a healthy, happy life. In particular, PTSD can contribute to:
Drinking or drug problems (addictions)
Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair (depression, hopelessness)
Employment problems (overwhelmed, distracted)
Relationships problems including divorce and violence
Because of all the ways that PTSD can disrupt not just the person's life but the lives of friends and family, it makes it all the more important to get help and treatment for PTSD as soon as symptoms are recognized.
Types of Treatments offered by TGG:There are many types of treatment for PTSD and the recommended treatment will vary depending on the person's situation.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy;
- Exposure Therapy;
- Group Counselling;
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Family Therapy
- Medication Consultation
TGG offers effective treatments for PTSD. TGG can help most people with PTSD lead productive, fulfilling lives. PTSD does not have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.
The Growth Group offers:
Open Enrolment – This means you do not have to wait; you can get help today.
Times that suit you and work with your schedule
Days, evenings, and weekends
We offer classes and individuals sessions not only to our Canadian Armed Forces, Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedics, but to, any one whom is suffering with the devastating effects of PTSD.