Acute Stress/PTSD

When bad things happen to one's self or to loved ones (such as being attacked, assaulted, or being confronted by a possible death), it is quite normal to feel a considerable amount of stress. Stress, however, is not in itself a psychological disorder. It is how one responds to stress that is the key.

Coping poorly with stress can result in the experience of:

  • distressing and intrusive thoughts and memories;
  • recurrent nightmares;
  • physical feelings of distress (such as muscle tension, sweating, and racing heart rate);
  • persistent depressed mood;
  • feelings of detachment;
  • amnesia;
  • efforts to avoid people or places that remind you of the event;
  • disturbed sleep;
  • aggressive outbursts;
  • hypervigilance;
  • reduced ability to concentrate; and
  • being easily startled.

Fortunately, most people tend to get over stressful events within about a month. Cognitive Therapy, Psycho-Education, and Supportive Psychotherapy can all be very helpful in speeding up that process. If, however, the difficulties persist for more than a month, the problem is then considered to be a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can be particularly persistent and debilitating. Symptoms may also become quite entrenched, and slower to respond to therapy if left untreated for an extended period of time.

Ed Zahra typically treats PTSD with sub-conscious approaches to therapy through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) or TRTP (The Richards Trauma Process). EMDR is generally offered for a relatively acute or recent traumatic experience, and it can produce quite prompt, and dramatically positive results. TRTP is used for more long-standing and deeply-embedded traumatic events that are experienced as having damaged the very fabric of one's persona. Click here to view a 7-minute video description of TRTP.

General information only; not specific personal advice. Do not make decision based solely on information on this website. See a health professional for advice about your specific problems. Symptom lists are based primarily on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition diagnostic criteria (by the American Psychiatric Association, 2013).