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Trauma and PTSD

Chi-Chi photo Chi-Chi · 18 Aug, 2020

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition where people have experienced life-threatening or serious trauma, and struggle with moments where they re-experience aspects of that experience - memories, dreams, flashbacks etc. Dr Chi-Chi explains why it is important to get help when you've been through trauma - even if it happened a long time ago - and why it can be treated extremely effectively so that your past doesn't need to haunt your present.

Hello, I'm Dr. Chi-Chi Obuaya, consultant psychiatrist, and I'm going to talk about trauma and PTSD.

We often use that word very loosely, trauma, I had a really traumatic day, oh, there so much trauma involved in that process. But actually PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a condition in which people experience life-threatening or very severe trauma that can leave them re-experiencing that trauma in the form of nightmares and flashbacks. That's when somebody's fully awake and they get vivid images in which it's occurring again.

They can often get thoughts that just keep reminding them of that traumatic event, and that might lead them to start avoiding things or places, or even people that remind them of that traumatic incident.

The other thing that happens is that people experience what we call hyper-vigilance, that's being alert all the time, even when there doesn't appear to be any danger and they can easily be shocked by loud or sudden noises.

So it's important that people do get help for traumatic experiences. They can bring about a lot of shame and embarrassment, but even if the trauma's happen a long time ago, and it can result from a number of different experiences, it can be treated very effectively.

And the main form of treatment is a form of psychological therapy that creates a sense of safety, firstly, because what trauma does is it makes people feel unsafe and that they're in more danger. And then it allows them to go a bit deeper and to re-explore the trauma, without it bringing back those dramatic and uncomfortable reactions.

In some cases, people take some calming medication to help them along that journey, but ultimately the goal is to help people to live their lives as they would otherwise do. So the treatments can be very effective and I'd very much encourage people, if they've had bad experiences, it's never too late to get some help. Thank you.


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