Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
Symptoms of PTSD
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt. They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia or find concentrating difficult. These symptoms can be severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.
What causes PTSD?
Any situation that a person finds traumatic can cause PTSD. Survivors of rape and other types of sexual assault are at a higher risk of developing PTSD than those who have experienced other traumatic events. One major factor for victims of sexual assault is the feeling of guilt and shame; it can be difficult to reconcile what happened and blaming yourself is very common for many survivors.
How does PTSD manifest itself?
PTSD can manifest itself in a number of ways including:
- Difficulty interacting with other people,
- Avoidance of issues or places that are a reminder of what happened,
- Sleep problems,
- Self- harm,
- Suicidal ideation,
- Low self-esteem,
- Panic attacks,
- Substance abuse,
- Children that have been sexually abused may become hyper-sexualised as a result.