PSTD Sufferers Don’t Always Get Help They Need

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects over 700,000 people in England alone and yet less than half will seek help for their symptoms from their doctors says Dr Jennifer Wild of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

 

Doctors don’t always get it right

 

Dr Wild told the BBC that it is common for people suffering from PTSD to wait years before getting help and many aren’t even aware that their symptoms are treatable. Furthermore, doctors don’t always have a lot of knowledge about PTSD and how to treat it.

 

This means that there are hundreds of thousands of people suffering and even if they do seek help, they may not get the right kind of help. According to Dr Wild, PTSD symptoms overlap with symptoms of depression so patients are often treated with anti depressants or sleeping pills.

 

This is not ideal for a number of reasons. Talking therapies have proved to be more effective for PTSD than drugs and it has to be said that drugs have many unpleasant side effects. Sleeping pills for example are highly addictive and will only deal with one of the symptoms of PTSD and not the source.

 

Dr Wild says that doctors need to be more aware of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and understand that some symptoms overlap with depression, so that they can make an accurate diagnosis.

 

PTSD can start after any kind of traumatic event or harrowing experience. For example, witnessing or being involved in an accident or a violent assault, natural or man-made disasters, war, being robbed, etc. Each person’s experience will be unique.

 

What to look for

 

Someone suffering from PTSD can feel depressed, anxious, angry, and guilty, they may find it difficult to relax or to sleep and feel constantly on their guard or in a heightened state of awareness. Others may try to distract themselves to block out the memory and feel emotionally numb.

 

Some of the effects of PTSD include flashback memories of the traumatic event, nightmares and trying to avoid reminders of the event.

 

Other symptoms which can appear as a result of PTSD include aches and pains, digestive problems, weight gain or weight loss, palpitations, headaches, panic and fear. Some may turn to alcohol or drugs to ease their turmoil.

 

Getting better

 

It’s important to keep routines as normal as possible, to talk over your feelings with a person you trust, and to make sure you are getting all the right nutrients in your diet.

Although it’s not possible to wipe out the traumatic event and forget it ever happened, talking therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy can help you change the way you think about the event and help you learn new ways of coping so that you can come to terms with it.

 

Help is available, people can access cognitive behaviour therapy sessions through IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme). They can either ask their doctor for a referral or they can refer themselves.

 

Learn how I beat Depression

3 Comments

  1. Sam Cowley
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi Karl,

    Would really appreciate your thoughts on our new website.

    It is a site for carers to talk about their own health and wellbeing. Stress and depression are common themes as you might imagine.

    Best wishes,
    Sam

  2. admin
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Looks great , only had a quick peek but sure to have a good nosey around later

  3. Rick
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I suffer with PTSD, depression and anxiety attacks. I have had ‘treatment’ for my illness but now the mental health team have turned their back on me and discharged me, saying I am fine, I am worse than ever, I see ‘things’ like my father who died 10 years ago, I hate that bastard, he used to beat the shit out of me near on every day, he sexually assaulted me as well. I get angry at the drop of a hat, some days I can’t even get out of the front door, I hate this life. I spent a month in hospital last year after a massive overdose, how I wish I had died, even now. I try so hard every day to feel positive but by the end of the day everything is just as bad. What am I to do? I wish I knew, does anyone care? I know one of my daughters’ do but the rest of my family? I really don’t know. Yes I see my Doctor once a month, the MH team have finished with me because they are only allowed to ‘keep you on their books’ for six months. If I knew I could buck up enough courage again to try to end my life again … I would … Maybe one day.

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