All You Need to Know About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that some people develop after experiencing a distressing, stressful, or life-threatening event. A traumatic event usually shatters an individual’s sense of security and makes them feel helpless and vulnerable.

First off, what is trauma?

In essence, trauma is an emotional or psychological response to a disturbing event.

An individual who has experienced a traumatic experience usually has frightening flashbacks of their ordeal and struggles with a constant sense of insecurity and upsetting emotions.

For an experience to be traumatic, it does not necessarily have to involve physical harm – it is more about your subjective emotional experience of the situation. While generally, situations that pose a threat to your life and security are a cause of trauma, any situation that leaves you feeling helpless and overwhelmed can be traumatic, both emotionally and psychologically.

The common symptoms of trauma

Whether you have experienced a single traumatic event, a series of disturbing events or you have been exposed to a stressful situation over a prolonged period of time, you are likely to experience the following symptoms of trauma.

  • Insomnia

  • Nightmares

  • Irritability

  • Anger

  • Fatigue

  • Agitation

  • Confusion

  • Body aches and pains

  • Emotional overwhelm

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Social withdrawal

  • A sense of distrust

  • Numbness

  • Anxiety and constant fear

  • Feelings of sadness and helplessness

  • Easily startled

While some people recover quickly from even the most tragic incidents, others may not take traumatic situations that are not too upsetting, very well. Those who get devastated by a shocking experience tend to experience persistent symptoms of trauma.

These emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma call for trauma counselling, as they may result in lasting damage.

What are the common causes of trauma?

If a distressing incident has the following qualities, it is likely to be traumatic:

  • It happened out of the blue

  • You did not foresee it

  • You felt helpless while trying to prevent it

  • It happened repeatedly over time

  • It is a childhood memory

  • Someone was excessively cruel by choice

That being said, the common causes of trauma may include:

  • Bad accidents

  • Natural disasters

  • Serious illness and difficult medical procedures

  • Death of a loved one

  • Bullying

  • Childhood abuse and neglect

  • Sexual abuse and/or rape

  • Domestic violence

  • Assault

  • A difficult and complicated birthing experience

  • Witnessing violence or terrorism

Dealing with PTSD

If traumatic symptoms are left untreated, they may result in serious mental health issues, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder. It is typically accompanied by depression and anxiety.

How you respond to a traumatic situation and deal with PTSD has a lot to do with your previous traumatic experiences, your vulnerability to stress, potential existing mental health issues, childhood experiences, and interpersonal nature of the trauma.

PTSD treatment at Kensington Psychology and Wellbeing

If you have experienced trauma through a life-changing experience, you should consider getting professional help with trauma. An Adelaide trauma psychologist who is trained in trauma counselling can help you rebound and get back to normal life ASAP.

At Kensington Psychology and Wellbeing, trauma psychologists Adelaide will conduct individual assessments and provide treatment programs tailor-fitted according to YOUR specific needs.   



What is the difference between PTSD and a normal response to trauma?

The primary difference between trauma and PTSD is the not in the severity of the event or trauma but the severity and length of the symptoms. Following a traumatic event, the mind and the body are in shock and almost everyone experiences at least some of the symptoms of PTSD such as bad dreams, feeling fearful and anxious and constant throughs about the traumatic event. These are normal reactions to abnormal events and for most people the symptoms will run their course and normal life will resume. This can take some weeks but eventually the symptoms will decrease as you make sense of what happened and process your emotions and begin to feel a sense of normality.

The difference with PTSD is that the symptoms don’t decrease and people will feel worse.



Anyone can suffer from PTSD and some of the events are as follows:

War, terrorism, rape, natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, physical and sexual assault, plane crashes, terrorist attacks, sudden death of a loved one, kidnapping, childhood neglect etc.

Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous or life-threatening event. It is possible to develop PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or dies suddenly or witnessing a traumatic event or accident or natural disaster.




The symptoms of PTSD occurs a survivor of trauma fails to return to normal and stress reactions get worse over time. Sufferers of PTSD will often, relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, they will have trouble sleeping, may feel detached or estranged from life and family. These symptoms can significantly impair the person’s daily life and can also be marked by clear biological changes as well as psychological symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years before they appear.

While everyone experiences PTSD differently the symptoms present in 3 different ways:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms

The first set of symptoms involves reliving the trauma, feeling overcome when confronted with a traumatic reminder, flashbacks, nightmares as well as intense

 Kensington Psychology & Well-Being.   
82 Shipsters Road, Kensington Park, Adelaide. 
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