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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. You can search for your local service on the NHS website.