29 Sep 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Anxiety / Depression / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / PTSD / Trauma

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Article by Marvis Bih,

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder refers to a severe anxiety disorder that a person develops after being exposed to one or more serious life situations that result in deep psychological trauma (Nicholls, et al., 2006). Persons suffering from PTSD may have difficulty engaging in interpersonal relationships, have flashbacks and experience paranoia. Anyone can develop PTSD and it can happen at any age.

What causes PTSD?

Some causes of PTSD include witnessing serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse or assault (Spitzer, 2009), major man-made or natural disasters, war, genocides, major accidents, sicknesses or pandemics such as COVID-19 (Frans 2005). Many studies have linked PTSD with other comorbid psychiatric disorders (Gershuny, 2002; NIMH, 2020). In addition, some biological factors such as genes may make some people more likely to develop PTSD (NIMH, 2020).

Age and the effects of PTSD

Children and teenagers are more vulnerable to trauma and have extreme reactions. Symptoms in children may include but not limited to; unusually clingy with a parent, unable to talk and wetting the bed. However, older children often display symptoms like those seen in adults such as destructive behaviour, being disrespectful and disruptive (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020).

When to seek help

When a child or an adult’s symptoms last for a few weeks and not getting better, it is advisable to seek for help. A mental health counsellor or a trained therapist can recognise and treat trauma in children and adults, by addressing the root cause of the child’s behaviour and promote healing (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2014).

The traumatic effect of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world, leading to nations shutting down their economy and services and people were encouraged to work from home. This situation created anxiety and mental stress for many people. Therefore, in these emotionally draining times, mental health practitioners need to be flexible in their approach to therapy.

Benefits of Online Therapy

The flexibility of Online Therapy means that practitioner can change the way they deliver therapy. With the age of technological advancement, we can now offer and receive therapy from the comfort of our homes through online therapy. Online therapy is different from face to face therapy, but certainly no less effective. Online therapy takes place online by connecting through technology such as smartphone, iPad, laptop or a desktop.

Online therapy platforms

There are different types of interventions used to deliver online trauma therapy. Methods include virtual technology such as Skype counselling or Zoom, telephone counselling, chats or a combination of any of these. More on online therapy and finding a good online therapist coming up next week. Join us next week as we explore online therapy, a good online therapist and how to find an online therapist.

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References.          

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Parenting a child who has experienced trauma. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

Frans O, Rimmo P A, Aberg L, Fredrikson M. (2005). Trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 2005. 111(4): 291-299.

Gershuny B S, Baer L, Jenike M A, Minichiello W E, Wilhelm S. (2002). Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder: impact on treatment outcome for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Psychiatry, 159(5): 852-854.

Lindefors, N. & Andersson, G. (2016). Guided Internet-Based Treatment in Psychiatry. Switzerland: Spriner International Publishing.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Bethesda, MD: NIMH            

Nicholls P J, Abraham K, Connor K M, Ross J, Davidson JR. (2006). Trauma and posttraumatic stress in users of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site. Compr Psychiatry, 47(1): 30-34.

Spitzer C, Barnow S, Volzke H, John U, Freyberger H J, Grabe H J. (2009). Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and physical illness: findings from the general population. Psychosom Med, 71(9): 1012-1017.

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