A psychologist who treats patients in Enfield with complex mental health conditions is urging people to look out for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The anxiety disorder can be caused from being involved in or witnessing a traumatic event such as a terrorist attack, sexual assault, robbery or during military combat.
The symptoms of PTSD can cause flashbacks and nightmares as well as feeling isolated and having trouble sleeping or concentrating.
These are common symptoms of PTSD but should they impact on a person’s day-to-day life or continue for more than three months then medical help should be sought.
“PTSD is awful, and people shouldn’t have to cope alone,” said Dr Jennifer Hall who is a clinical psychologist on the Enfield complex care team, at Chase Farm Hospital, in The Ridgeway.
The service which is run by the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, provides treatment and support for patients with complex mental health conditions.
“PTSD is debilitating, makes you feel on edge and gives you nightmares. People will struggle to sleep and will struggle to think about anything else,” explained Ms Hall.
“Anyone who has been through, or is going through PTSD, will feel very vulnerable and confused and should seek support from their GP.”
Ms Hall highlighted the importance of continuing with hobbies and activities, which provides a “sense of achievement”, as well as receiving support from family friends.
“These things can help your symptoms to improve,” she added.
The Enfield complex care team provides a range of treatment for dealing with PTSD which can be treated in three stages.
The first phase of treatment offered to patients are group sessions to help manage the symptoms followed by one-to-one sessions with a trained trauma therapist such as a clinical psychologist.
The patient is asked to talk through the traumatic event which is part of recovery and helps the brain process the trauma.
The third stage is helping the patient back into the community and reconnect with their identity after the trauma by thinking about their future.
There are misconceptions surrounding PTSD and many people assume that the traumatic event can simply be forgotten or a person can forget and move on.
“If a loved one has been in a traumatic event and they are feeling anxious just remember that how they are feeling is out of their control,” added Ms Hall.
If you’re concerned about PTSD speak to your GP who can advise you on the different PTSD services available in the area.