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what is ptsd and where to find help?


What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a disabling stress disorder that people may develop after experiencing one or more traumatic events.

Symptoms include:

  • Unwanted distressing memories of the trauma, flashbacks or nightmares
  • Feeling emotionally upset, tearful or irritable for example, or bodily reactions such as sweating, shaking or a racing heart beat when reminded of the event
  • Avoiding talking about the trauma, thinking about it or feelings associated with it
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma: people, places or activities
  • Feeling emotionally numb, difficulty experiencing feelings like love or happiness
  • Negative thoughts about the self, the world or the future
  • Feeling detached and cut-off from other people, finding it difficult to be close to anyone
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Feeling overly alert or watchful or feeling jumpy 

What is a traumatic event?
A trauma is an exceptionally threatening event during which the individual may feel like they (or someone very close to them) are about to die or experience serious harm. Examples include the following: assault, rape, accidents, terrorist attacks, fire, disaster and witnessing someone being badly injured or killed.


If you are looking for treatment of PTSD, you can discuss the possibility of a referral for psychological therapy with your GP or contact your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service  (

About our current treatment trial

Research shows that PTSD can be treated effectively with psychological treatments, but it is unclear which treatments work best and how they should be best delivered. A new clinical trial with 217 participants will compare two forms of psychological therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder that are completed online over 3 months with the help of a therapist.  86% of the eligible participants will be able to start treatment right away, and 14% will wait for 3 months before starting one of the treatments. The decision which treatment participants will receive and when they start, is made randomly by a computer programme. Participants attend assessments and fill in questionnaires at regular intervals to monitor their progress during treatment and a year afterwards.


All participants will receive internet-based psychological therapy with support from a therapist for their post-traumatic stress disorder. A team that specialises in the treatment of this disorder will deliver the treatment and closely monitor progress.


Can you help us?

  • Are you 18 or over? 
  • Is PTSD your main problem?
  • Is your PTSD from one or two different traumatic events or several traumatic episodes during a longer period of high threat in adulthood or adolescence?
  • Could you travel to Oxford, South London or Brighton/Hove for a face-to-face assessment? 


If the answer to all of these questions are yes, and you would be interested in information about the trial, please get in touch with the study coordinator (Mon – Fri 9 am to 5 pm, answering machine outside these hours):


STOP-PTSD study coordinator

Rachel Maddox

Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma

Paradise Square



Telephone: 01865 281 867