PTSD is common. A recent survey in the Lancet of 2,000 eighteen year olds in England and Wales showed that one in every 13 had evidence of PTSD.
Only a third or so of those who experience major trauma developed PTSD. Of those who developed PTSD in this survey about a half had also had depression, a quarter had evidence of alcohol dependence and a fifth had harmed themselves.
‘THE TROUBLES’ NORTHERN IRELAND
The level of PTSD is high in Northern Ireland where I live. Many who have lived through ‘The Troubles’ here have had horrific experiences and in clinic I have encountered fire fighters, policemen and prison officers who have been through harrowing times. In PTSD people will often have flashbacks and nightmares of the experiences they went through. They will often be ‘on edge’ and want to avoid any reminder of the experience. They will usually try to bury the experience deep inside themselves and may find certain aspects of the experience difficult to remember. They may actively avoid ever going near where the incident happened.
Last Friday evening, I was continuing some of the talks I have recently been giving at Clonard Monastery. (Previous talks on Anxiety, Suicide, Addictions and Depression were broadcast live and can be accessed on the CLONARD MONASTERY FACEBOOK PAGE. Further talks on Psychosis and Bereavement will be on Fridays 22nd and 29th March at 7-30pm )
This last Friday I was talking on PTSD. In small groups people were able to talk about their experiences. We pointed out where more specific help was available. Trauma based cognitive behaviour therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming) are both valid and well attested forms of therapy and some of my colleagues have excellent results in this area.
We also encouraged the audience to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ can bring healing to the traumas they had suffered. We had a good time of prayer for individuals who had been through traumatic experiences. We have been delighted to be involved with Clonard Monastery with these talks, particularly since Clonard were instrumental in helping to bring reconciliation during ‘The Troubles’.
When healing occurs, through various means, people are able to look back on their painful experiences without the distress and fear that they had become accustomed to with PTSD.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have an excellent leaflet on PTSD