What is ….. PTSD

I am not going to write a complex set of definitions for PTSD, it’s trigger, or it’s symptoms because they all exist written perfectly well at this website and I doubt I could do a better job than they have. So I am directing you to their website and offering you a very brief description of a complex conditions. https://www.ptsduk.org/what-is-ptsd/ptsd-explained/

PTSD can be caused by one specific incident or a continued exposure to a difficult environment. It does not have to be an incident or exposure that would impact on everyone because everyone processes trauma, memories and incidents differently (just because one person likes something doesn’t mean everyone will, and the same for PTSD, just because 1 person experiences the same as others doesn’t mean they will, at that time, process it the same way). The reason someone is processing differently or finds an event traumatic is something still being understood, it could be chemical or psycho-social or a combination.

PTSD is when the brain does not process experiences in its normal way. Normal being it takes in information, stores it briefly in pre frontal lobe (at the front of the brain) in the short term memory, then uses chemicals and processes like sleep to encode it and file it in the correct place, the hippocampus, and link it to other memory pathways using neurons, eg a memory of roses could be linked to the idea of lipstick or poppies because they were all red, often memoires have hundreds of links and ways of being accessed. However, with PTSD for whatever reason, this normal process has not occurred and these images and memories are not linked or stored as normal. They pop up with random connections, they float around and are too easily accessed, they bash into other images and give confusing incorrect memories, they interrupt sleep or thought processes, they barge into everyday life. However, because they are not processed properly they can feel very realistic and traumatic to the brain rather than feel like a normal memory. This means the brain can react as if it were in the original moment again, causing an adrenaline burst, fear, sweating, anxiety, tense muscles, heightened senses, increased heart rate and breathing among other things. Hence people with PTSD try to avoid certain things that can trigger these non-stable memories.

Therapy can sometimes help to normalise, analyse and understand these memories and events, allowing the brain to process them and thus reducing the triggers and the unwanted ‘false alarm’ response from the brain. There are also more in-depth treatments for PTSD and you should always seek a medical diagnosis and treatment from you GP if you think you have PTSD.

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304