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As November arrives the poppies come out. They can be seen on lapels and jackets across Britain. They represent the flowers which bloomed on Flanders Fields following the bloodshed of World War I.

On Wednesday the nation will join in two minutes of silence to remember those who sacrificed their lives defending our freedom. It is also important for us to remember those who survived the horrors of war and the suffering which they may be experiencing.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder. According to NHS choices it is estimated to affect about 1 in 3 people who have a traumatic experience. However It is not just war that constitutes a traumatic event.

Many other experiences can cause PTSD including:

  • being physically assaulted
  • being raped or sexually assaulted
  • abuse in childhood
  • a traumatic childbirth,for mother and partner
  • serious road accidents
  • any event where you fear for your life
  • witnessing extreme violence

Symptoms of PTSD

People commonly talk about feeling numb after a traumatic experience. Symptoms of PTSD do not always start straight away, sometimes they occur years after the event.

Different people suffer different symptoms but they usually fall into the following categories:

Relieving the experience –  flashbacks, nightmares, recurring thoughts.

Feeling hyper-alert – anxiety, lack of concentration, insomnia, feeling irritable.

Avoidance – using drink or drugs, numbness and feeling unable to express yourself, avoiding situations that remind you of the experience

In this video Ollie, a PTSD sufferer, talks about his experiences.

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes (H4H) is charity dedicated to supporting those who have served in the armed services. Their campaign for those with PTSD, Hidden Wounds,  provides free and confidential support delivered by Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs). This can be accessed by phone, Skype or face to face.

Help for Heroes also offer out of hours support. Please call the Combat Stress helpline on: 0800 1381619

If you feel you may be affected by any of these issues but have not served in the armed services. More information and support is available from Mind or by phone: 0300 123 3393

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