Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the psychological term for a set of reactions anyone may experience when something traumatic or scary happens.  PTSD for mothers can come from events before, during, after or throughout the entire birth experience. Only recently has it been recognized that PTSD may be suffered as a result of a traumatic birth experience.

These symptoms should alert you to possible PTSD:

  • Experienced an event perceived by the person experiencing it as traumatic
  • Flashbacks of the event, vivid & sudden memories
  • Nightmares of the event
  • Inability to recall an important aspect of the event – psychogenic amnesia
  • Exaggerated startle response, constantly living on edge
  • Hyper-arousal, always on guard
  • Hyper-vigilant, constantly looking around for trouble or stressors
  • Avoidance of all reminders of the traumatic event
  • Intense psychological stress at exposure to events that resemble the traumatic event
  • Physiological reactivity on exposure to events resembling the traumatic event- panic attacks, sweating, palpitations
  • Fantasies of retaliation
  • Cynicism and distrust of authority figures and public institutions
  • Hypersensitivity to injustice

See www.tabs.org.nz for more information on PTSD.