What is PTSD?
Unfortunately, many people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. Traumatic events are typically unexpected and can happen at any age. Often during a traumatic event, the person believes that their life or physical integrity is in danger. Sometimes, the person might witness a traumatic event where someone else dies or is seriously injured.
These types of traumas might include serious accidents, interpersonal violence, sexual assault, birth trauma, combat stress, or witnessing the traumatic death or injury of another person.
Following Traumatic events like these it is normal for people to experience a number of symptoms. These include flashbacks and nightmares, avoiding thinking or talking about the trauma, avoiding any reminders of the traumatic experience, and feeling “on-edge” or very anxious a lot of the time.
Understandably these symptoms can affect people’s mood and functioning.
It is important to know that these symptoms are a completely normal response to such a frightening situation. Whilst these symptoms are unpleasant, they are not dangerous and can happen to anyone after a traumatic experience.
Over time, most people will recover naturally. This means that these symptoms will usually settle down by themselves.
For some people these symptoms will persist for more than a month or feel really unmanageable, and if this is the case, there are a number of evidence-based interventions that can help.
- If you have experienced a traumatic event it is really important to take good care of yourself; making sure that you eat, sleep, exercise, and connect with loved ones.
- Be kind to yourself. You have lived through something really difficult, and it is normal to experience a range of emotions after traumatic events.
- Connect with people you trust and, if you feel up to it, talk through what has happened in as little or as much detail as you need. You don’t need to experience difficult feelings alone.
- If you are supporting a child, friend, or relative following a trauma then it can be helpful to provide lots of validation and kindness. Allow them to talk about what happened as little or as much as they need. Of course, it’s important to take care of your own wellbeing whilst caring for others.
- If you or someone you know need urgent help – go to our ‘urgent help’ page immediately’.
If you need further help managing trauma
If the information, advice, resources and courses on this page have not been helpful and/or you think you need more help, there are many free support services available.
If you live in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, and are aged over 18, you can make an appointment with a Psychological Health Practitioner (PHP)> or GP by contacting your local GP surgery. PHPs are NHS mental health practitioners who provide a free service for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems.
If you are under 18 or worried about someone aged under 18 and need advice/self-referral to local mental health and wellbeing services in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, contact SPACE-Wellbeing.
Or alternatively contact another approved helpline. Some services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Last updated: 25.09.2023