PTSD is a term that has been used since the 1980s to describe symptoms that occur after a severe trauma and you may have heard the previous term shell shock as being a way to describe the effects of war on soldiers. Most people associate PTSD as something that a soldier or rape victim might experience but any serious event that shocks, overwhelms, and frightens us can cause feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and leave us feeling emotionally scarred.
Traumatic childbirth, being bullied, being involved in a car crash, being present when someone dies or a natural disaster can overwhelm the nervous system and create trauma.1 in 3 people who experience a threat to their survival go on to develop PTSD. It can not only affect the person who is in direct contact with the traumatic event but also any witnesses or emergency services who are there to support the victim and witness the trauma unfold.
After a traumatic experience, it’s normal to feel frightened, sad, anxious, and disconnected but if the feelings don’t fade, you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms can develop instantly or can come to the surface weeks or months later.