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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

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  • 1

    Thanks

    Hugo Teixeira

    Psychologist

    Hugo’s vision is to help you experience more happiness in your life. He focuses on teaching practical skills and tools that align what you think, … View Profile

    PTSD includes symptoms that disrupt a person's everyday life. There are three types of symptoms. The first one is re-experiencing the trauma which can occur by intrusive memories, nightmares and flashbacks. The second one is avoidance behavior which is seen when there is numbness or detachment. The third is increased arousal, which includes things like insomnia, irritability or difficulty concentrating and hyper vigilance.

  • KC

    HealthShare Member

    Is PTSD common to reoccur over years after a sexual assault?

  • 1

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    Dr Toni Metelerkamp

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Toni works with adults and couples, and specialises in diagnosing and treating anxiety (panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder), phobias, substance and gambling, addictions, suicide and … View Profile

    PTSD is a chronic disorder, meaning that whilst it may remit, or be relatively easily managed for a period of time, aspects of the trauma remain with you. Memories of the trauma are stored in all the different parts of your brain so that visual, olfactory, auditory and tactile sensations are sprinkled throughout your brain. Depending on how you are coping at any given time, and what aspect of the trauma is triggered at that time, you may find that you again struggle with PTSD symptoms even when you think you had resolved the issue/s. You might suddenly find you’re having nightmares, difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, withdrawing from others, avoiding intimacy and becoming socially avoidant. Anger, depression and tearfulness are common too.

    Suddenly struggling with trauma symptoms some time after the event can mean the event was not sufficiently addressed at the time or it might mean that something has triggered one of the many visual, auditory, olfactory or tactile memories of that event. It is not uncommon to find yourself struggling after you thought it was laid to rest. If you, or someone you know, are struggling with a trauma response relating to a sexual assault try to get help soon. The longer you wrestle with the symptoms the more entrenched they become and the more impact they have on every day activities and capacity to be intimate.

    I wish you all the best

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