Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist act, war/combat, rape, or other violent personal assaults. 

In the context of PTSD, trauma is often categorised into “Big T” trauma and “Small t” trauma, which helps to differentiate between the types and severity of traumatic experiences.

  1. Big T (trauma) refers to significant, often life-threatening events that can lead to PTSD. These events are typically sudden and overwhelming, creating intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Examples include:

1. Intrusive Memories: Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event, flashbacks, and nightmares.

2. Avoidance: Avoiding thinking or talking about the traumatic event and avoiding places, activities, or people that remind one of the trauma.

3. Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood: Negative thoughts about oneself or others, feelings of hopelessness, memory problems, difficulty maintaining close relationships, and lack of interest in activities once enjoyed.

4. Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions: Being easily startled or frightened, always being on guard for danger, self-destructive behaviour, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, irritability, and angry outbursts.

These types of trauma can profoundly impact an individual’s mental health, often requiring intensive therapy and support.

  1. Small t (Trauma) refers to less severe, but still distressing events that can also contribute to PTSD or other mental health issues, especially when experienced repeatedly or in combination with other stressors. These events might not involve immediate danger but can have a significant emotional impact. Examples include:
  1. Bullying or harassment.
  2. Divorce or breakup.
  3. Ongoing relationship conflicts.
  4. Financial difficulties.
  5. Significant life changes. (e.g., moving to another city/country, job loss)

While “small t” traumas might not result in PTSD on their own, their cumulative effect can be significant. They can lead to anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders, particularly if they occur during formative years or go unaddressed over time.

Recognizing and addressing both types of trauma is essential for mental health and well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic event, seeking professional help can be a crucial step toward recovery.

Also, read about ‘18 Journal Prompts for Mental Health’-

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