PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has existed since the first war was fought. Shell shock was the name for it in WW1, in WW2 it was known as battle fatigue. The term PTSD first appeared in third edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980. Doctors who lobbied for its inclusion saw it as a way of legitimising pain and suffering experienced by Vietnam War veterans.
PTSD is not always caused by war – there are many other causes. I had it due to trauma I experienced when I was a very young child, and a bit later. Today I no longer have it.
PTSD is the phrase used for a set of typical responses to a distressing, traumatic, negative or bad experience. The disorder can arise after experiencing, or witnessing, life-threatening events, such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorism, severe accidents, or violent personal attacks and rape. That said, a traumatic experience can be any situation involving the threat of death or serious injury to an individual or another person close to them. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can even be an effect of a traumatic birth. About 5% of males and 11% of females exposed to such an occurrence will develop PTSD.
PTSD is defined by invasive recollections of a traumatic event/s, which can include distress and repeated nightmares when confronted with sounds and sights that remind of the shock. People with PTSD are constantly guarded and warily look for threatening situations, which means that they’re constantly in a state of high physiological arousal and stress.
In the USA, a smartphone app has proven successful in assisting with the treatment of PTSD in returned US soldiers and there is an Australian version. It is called PTSD Coach Australia. I quote: “PTSD Coach Australia is an app that helps people understand and manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.” The app is free, and works on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Hopefully many more Australian soldiers (Diggers), sailors, airmen and women will benefit from the app, as well as anyone else effected with PTSD. The app is designed to help you, or those close to you, to learn about PTSD and provides tools for managing stress which has arisen due to the trauma. The app can also be used for self-assessment, a direct connection to crisis support and for information about professional treatment. The app itself says it can be used as a stand-alone education and symptom management tool, or to augment personal face-to-face care with a mental health professional.
If you want specific face to face or phone help with PTSD – either for yourself or to cope with a relative’s or friend’s PTSD, please contact me. Please remember that I have personally recovered from PTSD, despite the causes arising very early in my life. Today I know deep peace of mind that few others experience. All without drugs of any kind.