Compiled by Melanie Hamaty, Clinical Psychologist from PsychMatters Family Therapy Centre Bedfordview

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become familiar to many South Africans due to the high crime rate in the country.  According to the South African Crime Statistics (2010), South Africa has the most assaults, rapes and murders with firearms per capita.  Individuals who have been exposed to a traumatic or violent event may suffer from PTSDPTSD sufferers may not always understand the symptoms they are experiencing.  The following symptoms are common:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares or recurrent intrusive thoughts
  • Withdrawing, numb feelings, detachment from others, panic attacks
  • Hyper-alertness, difficulty sleeping, guilt, memory impairment, difficulty concentrating

Symptoms may not occur immediately after the event and may only surface a few weeks or month after the trauma.  Sufferers who receive treatment timeously and have good social support are less likely to experience severe symptoms.  Tips for dealing with PTSD:

  • Seek professional help from psychologist
  • Educate yourself with symptoms of PTSD
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Engage in meaningful activities
  • Don’t live in denial about the trauma

If you or someone you know recognises any of the symptoms or have experienced a traumatic event contact us at PsychMatters Family Therapy Centre  to speek to one of our clinical psychologists on  011 – 450 3576.

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