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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD

If you′re suffering from flashbacks or nightmares, feelings of numbness or emotional withdrawal, or if you′re constantly anxious or on the alert, you could be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This condition affects approximately 30% of people who experience a traumatic event.

Many of us will experience trauma during our lifetimes, and for those in the emergency services or armed forces, it can be a common occurrence. Traumatic events can include:

  • serious accidents
  • the sudden or violent death of someone important to you
  • serious bullying, abuse or assaults
  • terrorist attacks, or being held hostage
  • disasters such as fires or earthquakes
  • military combat

How a traumatic event may affect you

If you have experienced trauma, whether many years ago or more recently, you may suffer serious long term repercussions. PTSD can have a significant impact on your everyday life, affecting your work and relationships. Symptoms can include:

  • Re-experiencing aspects of the event. Flashbacks or nightmares can make you feel like you are reliving the event all over again and may include smells, sounds, and a range of physical sensations.
  • Avoidance and numbness. These feelings of emotional withdrawal are often a result of trying to distract yourself from reliving the event.
  • Feeling constantly anxious or on the alert. You may have a sense of being on guard all the time, being extra alert to any signs of danger. This in itself is exhausting, increasing your anxiety and stopping you from sleeping.

Untreated, PTSD can lead to other psychological problems such as Phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

How psychotherapy can help you

There are a range of tools and treatments that can help you overcome the debilitating effects of trauma and move forward with your life. If you feel you may be suffering from PTSD, it is important to seek help from a specialist therapist, even if you do not know what is causing your distress.

Treatments for PTSD

After careful assessment, your psychotherapist or psychologist will explain how they plan to treat your PTSD. Effective treatments for PTSD tend to focus more on the symptoms of the trauma, rather than the trauma itself. You cannot change what has happened to you, but you can, with the right help, change how you think about it and how to manage your emotions. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been found to be an extremely useful treatment for PTSD. Other approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) are also useful.

Your next steps

Connect will help you find the most appropriate psychotherapist, psychologist or counsellor for your circumstances, in a location convenient to you. If you or someone you know is suffering, and you live in Bath, Bristol, North Somerset, West Wiltshire or South Gloucestershire, please contact us for a free discussion of your concerns. Call 01225 344 171 or email

More information is available on the following websites: