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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the second most common mental health condition in Australia.
Phoenix Australia, world-recognised experts in trauma-related mental health research and treatment, want to drive greater understanding of the issue ahead of National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day, on Monday 27 June 2022.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most common mental health condition in Australia after depression, but it’s often left undiagnosed and untreated.
And while not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, about 5-10% of Australians will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives.
This means that at any one time over 1 million Australians have PTSD.
Ask an Australian to explain PTSD, and they’ll probably describe war veterans or disaster survivors.
And while those kinds of dramatic events can certainly result in psychological injuries such as PTSD, there are many quieter, and more common occurrences that can lead to the disorder.
Phoenix Australia director Professor David Forbes said PTSD can result from the sudden death of a loved one, witnessing or being a part of a traumatic event, or even hearing about a traumatic event happening to a loved one.
Australians have experienced the environmental disaster impacts of bushfires, floods, drought, and storms, as well as the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand how much adversity, stress and trauma can affect our mental and physical health,” said Professor Forbes.
Many people that have PTSD don’t realise it, and only half of those affected will seek treatment.
Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the event through unwanted memories, flashbacks or nightmares, avoiding places, people or activities that bring back the event, having negative emotions such as fear, anger, guilt or numbness, being constantly alert for danger, being easily startled and taking risks.
Phoenix Australia’s website has advice for people suffering trauma, as well as resources for the health professionals treating them. It runs online and in-person training for organisations and individuals.
Tips for recovering from trauma:
- Recognise you have been through something awful, and give yourself permission to feel how you feel, but also remember your strengths and have confidence you will get through it.
- Rest, even if you can’t sleep, eat nutritious meals and exercise. Physical and mental health are linked.
- Plan your days and schedule at least one pleasurable or meaningful activity for each.
- Avoid making major life decisions in the weeks after the event. But make as many small decisions as you can, to restore your feeling of control.
- If you are still having difficulties more than two weeks after the event, contact your GP for further help.