Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (more commonly referred to as ‘PTSD’) is an often debilitating psychological condition, which some people (but not all) can develop after suffering or being exposed to a traumatic event, experience, abusive situation or relationship. If left untreated, it can lead to dysfunction, distress, pain and withdrawal from friends and family.
For the sufferer, it can be a painful, bewildering time with nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and feelings of unreality. Low mood or depression, anger, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms and can follow with feelings of hopelessness, social withdrawal from family and friends and even suicidal thoughts. These symptoms may last for months or even years and that is why it is important to seek help as soon as possible particularly when several of the symptoms are present.
It is important to understand that you are not alone – Trauma and PTSD symptoms do not discriminate. Anybody can develop post-traumatic symptoms if they find themselves in a situation when they felt greatly impacted by a situation, a severe shock, an abusive relationship walking constantly on eggshells and living in fear and constant verbal/emotional and/or physical abuse. Where your life has been in danger or threatened or when those around you have been injured or even killed. Even verbal descriptions of an event, i.e. an event where you were not personally involved, but it is described in detail, can lead to traumatic symptoms and or PTSD, particularly if you are a care giver listening to and being impacted by vicarious trauma.
Victims of domestic abuse/domestic violence often experience symptoms of PTSD when they step away from the relationship. In fact the longer they have been out of the relationship the more susceptible they are to experience PTSD symptoms as the person is now out of harm’s way, no longer on adrenaline of having to walk on ‘egg shells’ each day so the body and brain are able to start processing the experience and repressed painful memories and situations. Domestic Abuse or Domestic Violence is a pattern of abuse carried out by a partner, ex-partner of family member. The abuse can be just one of or all of the following:
In England and Wales 7 women die each month from Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence, 1 man dies every week. It affects 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 5 children will have grown up in a domestic abuse household.
Please always consult with your GP and more information can be found on the ‘women’s Aid’ website as well as the NCDV – National Centre for Domestic Violence in the UK.