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Post traumatic stress disorder

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

Symptoms include:

  • Unwanted distressing memories of the trauma
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling emotionally upset, tearful or irritable for example, when reminded of the trauma
  • Physical symptoms in response to reminders of the trauma, such as sweating, shaking or a racing heart beat
  • 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
  • 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
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling overly alert or watchful
  • 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
  • Fire
  • Robbery
  • Road traffic accident
  • Disaster
  • Witnessing someone being badly injured or killed

About our treatment trial

Research shows that PTSD can be treated effectively with psychological treatments, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy. These treatments are recommended by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the treatment of choice for PTSD sufferers (PTSD Guideline March 2005).
Our team has developed one such trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy for PTSD and has found in previous studies that it is very effective and acceptable to patients. 

We have just finished recruitment for a study comparing two forms of this psychological treatment for PTSD to find out which way of delivering the treatment is the most effective and acceptable to patients.

Patients attended for an initial assessment which determined whether the problems being experienced were suitable for the treatments we offer. If they agreed to participate, they received one of the two forms of cognitive therapy for PTSD. No drugs were involved. Two thirds of participants started therapy immediately and one third started after a 12-week wait, attending regular sessions at our clinics in Oxford or South London.


It helped me hugely to know that I could talk my fears through with someone I could trust - Patient

What are the possible benefits of taking part?
Patients who take part in our trial receive psychological treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Their progress is closely monitored by a team that specialises in the treatment of this disorder. We hope that the information we get from this study will help us find out what way of delivering the treatment is most effective and most acceptable to patients.



Please note, we are no longer recruiting for this treatment trial.

If you are seeking treatment for PTSD, other anxiety disorders or depression, we recommend that you consult your GP or your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service to find out about treatment options available in your area.

If you live in the Oxfordshire area, please contact TalkingSpace Plus on 01865 901 222 or visit their website for more information.

Alternatively, you can find other local IAPT services on the main IAPT website.