Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Psychologist Gold Coast
Our Gold Coast psychologists are experienced in treating PTSD and use a variety of evidence based approaches to support individual needs
WHAT IS PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that affects people who have been involved in or witnessed a traumatic event.
The development of PTSD depends on a variety of different factors including severity and frequency of traumatic event/s, as well as what we have discussed below under key drivers.
Childhood trauma: Childhood trauma can interfere with the ability to regulate emotions in a healthy manner, leading to fewer adaptive emotion regulation skills. In anxious people, emotional regulation deficits can lead to maladaptive coping with fear-related stimuli, increasing the possibility of chronic avoidance.
Acute and chronic stress: Most individuals recover from traumatic exposure, while others primarily experience acute stress disorder (ASD) within one to three months from exposure, increasing the risk of developing more chronic and severe PTSD, especially in the absence of early psychological support. The severity and frequency of trauma is also a strong predictor of PTSD development. [3,4,5]
Inflammation: Immune dysregulation and inflammation have been linked to a number of psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, with patients displaying significantly elevated blood levels of inflammatory markers. Excessive stress during PTSD illness, as well as prior to onset, is linked to increased proinflammatory activity. Normalising inflammatory biomarkers has been associated with PTSD symptom reduction and resolution – alongside working with your psychologist, our naturopaths and nutritionist can specifically help with immune and inflammatory dysregulation.
Sleep disturbances:Long-term sleep disturbances are common in PTSD patients. Sleep is both restorative and helpful for emotional processing. Although sleep dysregulation is a secondary effect of trauma, it can impede a patient’s recovery and contribute to poor psychological health.
Reduced endocannabinoid signalling: According to growing evidence long-term stress or trauma is linked to decreased endocannabinoid signalling, which regulates processes involved in stress adaptation, sleep, appetite and digestion, pleasure and reward, pain, and memory, [7,8]
Genetic factors: Evidence indicates that genetic factors account for 30% to 72% of PTSD vulnerability.
IDENTIFYING SIGNS OF PTSD
PTSD symptoms, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, comprise of four distinct behavioural symptom clusters that persist for more than one month after the traumatic event:
Intrusion symptoms, such as distressing memories, dreams/nightmares, flashbacks, or intensely distressing psychological or physiologic responses to reminders of the trauma;
Avoidance of distressing memories or external reminders of the trauma;
Negative cognitions and mood, such as amnesia for aspects of the event, negative thoughts about oneself or blame for the event, persistent negative emotions such as shame or guilt, diminished interests or activities, or feelings of detachment
Alterations in arousal and reactivity, which may include reckless behaviour, irritability, insomnia, hypervigilance, and exaggerated startle.
Whilst some individuals will recognise that they are struggling with a particular event, others may present with a range of non-specific effects of severe stress including:
Sleep disturbances (insomnia or nightmares)
Dramatically fluctuating body weight
Difficulty coping with relationships or work
At The Wellness Emporium our psychologists and naturopaths work independently or if you choose collaboratively to formulate a comprehensive and holistic treatment plan to help get you the results you want.