Typical events that could lead to PTSD include:
* Severe accidents or natural disasters
* Violent personal assaults like rape or mugging
* Terrorist attacks such as bombing or hijacking
* Witnessing serious injury or death
* Childhood trauma, such as sexual abuse or domestic violence
The American Psychiatric Association says victims usually have symptoms for each of the following groups, present for at least a month:
* Intrusion – the traumatic event suddenly intrudes into the victim’s life, days or even years after the event, through vivid flashbacks, nightmares, and/or recurrent distressing memories. Exposure to anything that reminds them of the trauma can also trigger further distress.
* Avoidance – sufferers avoid close ties with others, and/or situations which remind them of the trauma. Depression, a lack of interest in activities, survivor’s guilt, and feelings of shame, detachment, failure and unworthiness are also common.
* Act as if constantly threatened – becoming irritable, on guard, or explosive, for no apparent reason. Difficulty concentrating, exaggerated “startle reactions,” insomnia, and panic attacks can also occur.
Additional PTSD symptoms may include excessive sweating, paleness, headache, fever, fainting, dizziness, anxiety, tension, and agitation.
Anyone who may be suffering from PTSD should seek medical advice.
Treatment may involve the use of medication for clinical depression, anxiety, and other associated medical conditions; as well as psychological techniques, such as behavior therapy, exposure therapy, stress management training, and counseling.
Support groups, exercise, and relaxation techniques may also be helpful.
Based on an article in Well @ Work Newsletter, July 2000, published by Worklife Solutions (Australia) Pty Ltd, North Sydney, NSW, Australia. Sources cited by the article: www.my.webmd.com; Shape magazine; Australian Safety News.