Australian Resource Centre for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Australian Resource Centre for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is PTSD?

PTSD is the abbreviation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a specific set of stress reactions that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them.

These traumatic events could be death, car (or other) accidents, serious injury, military combat, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror.

PTSD can happen after a person has been through one traumatic event, or after repeated exposures to traumatic events. Sometimes, PTSD can develop after hearing details about multiple devastating and traumatic events. This is a common experience amongst emergency workers.

PTSD symptoms can be persistent and severe enough to significantly impair an individual’s daily life. PTSD often occurs in conjunction with other related mental disorders such as depression, substance abuse, and problems with memory and cognition.

It is therefore important to seek help to manage PTSD in its early stages.

What is Complex PTSD (CPTSD)?

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) describes the more severe and long-term condition that can occur after prolonged and repeated trauma (PTSD), particularly in childhood.

If left untreated, PTSD can develop into CPTSD and cause long-term problems with memory and disrupt the development of a person’s identity and their ability to control emotions and form meaningful relationships with others.

It is therefore important to seek help to manage PTSD in its early stages before it develops into CPTSD.