What is Stress?

Stresses and anxieties are something that we all in experience throughout everyday life, they are perfectly normal reactions to such events as crossing busy roads, Job interviews, meeting new people etc.

When stress levels become so high that they cause unpleasant feelings we then become worried or concerned which in turn adds to these already frightening feelings, all of these are normal physical reactions designed by the body to tell us that we must reduce our levels of stress to a more acceptable level.

After a traumatic event it is normal to experience anxiety or nightmares, and these usually go away within a few weeks, however some individuals experience lasting psychological problems.

What is Post Traumatic Stress?

Post Traumatic Stress can develop in any person following a traumatic event or situation, it is again a normal bodily reaction, but a normal reaction to an abnormal event or experience such as a car crash, fire, being beaten up, combat or war zone, or witnessing such an event.

Usual symptoms associated with Post Traumatic Stress are re-experiencing the event, avoidance of any situation that would be a reminder, feeling emotionally numb, depression, anger, drug/alcohol abuse as a way of self medicating.

All of us have a limit as to what we are able to comfortably take, if i use the example of a glass of water, we have different size glasses and there is a limit as to what each glass can take. Our bodies are the same, there is only so much we can take before we have had enough and become full (or can't take anymore)

At this point our body sends a message to the brain to signal that it has had enough, this usually happens by way of a panic attacks, although we have probably been displaying some signs of an increased anxiety level for sometime before this happens.

The symptoms of a panic attack/anxiety are different in all of us, some may suffer chest pains, butterflies, palpitations, sweating, dizziness, headaches, disturbed sleep pattern, hypervigilance, restlessness etc.


What causes a panic attack?

Panic attacks are caused by the rush of adrenalin into the bloodstream, this has many effects on the body it increases the heart rate, so that it can move oxygen quicker to the
muscles and get the body ready for the fight or flight response, it also withdraws blood from the other parts of the body and uses this to stimulate the major organs and muscles to aid the fight or flight response. This is why you feel the increased heartrate, tingling in the extremities, sweating, and sometimes hypervigilence, the are basic survival skills built into the body to help us survive the situation. 



What triggers my stress levels?

There are 3 main contributing factors to increased stress levels, they are Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviour.


 Thoughts

Thinking of certain situations that create panic, re-living the experience.
 
Re-living the experience.
Questioning yourself, Why me? Why did i survive?

 Thinking in a negative manner or worrying about small things that seem to be insignificant.

Feelings


Continued high levels of stress make us more irritable which again makes the smallest task impossible to do
(feeling frustrated).
 Low mood which generally effects all that we do.
Physical illness in itself can be often very stressful.


Behaviour


Avoiding certain situations, which reduce the threat of panic attacks/anxiety.
Overwork, long hours,
constantly rushing around doing task after task deliberately keeping yourself busy.
 

th_ptsd.jpg