Veteran, Defence & Emergency Services PTSD

PTSD brings up feelings of panic or extreme fear, similar to how they were felt during the traumatic event. This may be experienced as:

  • Re-living the traumatic event: unwanted and recurring memories, often in the form of vivid images and nightmares. There may be intense emotional or physical reactions, such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic when reminded of the event
  • Being overly alert or wound up: resulting in sleeping difficulties, irritability and lack of concentration, being easily startled and constantly on the lookout for signs of danger
  • Avoiding reminders of the event: avoiding activities, places, people, thoughts or feelings associated with the event because they bring back painful memories
  • Feeling emotionally numb: having a loss of interest in day-to-day activities, feeling cut off and detached from friends and family, or feeling emotionally flat and numb
  • It is not unusual for people with PTSD to experience other mental health difficulties at the same time. These may have developed directly in response to the traumatic event or have followed the PTSD. These additional problems, most commonly depression, anxiety and alcohol or drug use, are more likely to occur if PTSD has persisted for a long time. 

When should I see a health professional?

A trauma response is the person’s reaction to an event where there is the exposure to an actual or perceived threat to life or safety, which has a significant impact on a person’s emotional state. The experience of high distress and/or trauma can contribute to the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, psychotic disorders, and self-harm or suicidal behaviours.  

If you feel that the effects of a traumatic experience are impacting on your relationships, work, or other areas of your life, contact a health professional as soon as possible.

If you have any thoughts of self-harm or suicide, contact emergency services immediately. 

Overview Causes