Post traumatic stress disorder

Around 40% of the population have a traumatic experience in their lives that is associated with significant fear, disgust or a strong feeling of being threatened. Such an event has to be processed in a particular way. Many people are able to do this with the help of friends and family. Some people, however, often develop problems, often weeks or months later, with severely negative impacts, both psychological and physical.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can usually only be treated with professional help. At Schoen Clinic, we are specialised in physical and psychological illnesses. Our physicians tactfully assist you in regaining lost trust.

Causes & symptoms

What is trauma?

In principle a differentiation is made between human-caused trauma and catastrophe and accident-related trauma. Trauma is also classified based on its duration. Short-term trauma is characterised by an acute threat to life and the sudden occurrence of the event. Long-term trauma develops as a result of various individual events that are difficult to predict. Human-caused trauma includes sexual and physical abuse, criminal and familial violence or war-related experiences.Natural catastrophes and accidents include, among other things, earthquakes, floods and fires.

Causes: How does a PTSD develop?

Trauma is a prerequisite for the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. But not everyone who experiences trauma will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. A variety of psychological, biological, and social factors play a role.

Psychological trauma often affects people with respect to their basic needs, such as security, trust and fairness. This can result in a constant feeling of being threatened and harm. With respect to how to overcome the trauma, how much blame the person places on themselves for the event, for instance, plays a significant role.

Neurobiological factors also play a role. Traumatic experiences and the related feelings are saved in a kind of “trauma memory”. The patient cannot consciously remember the experience or verbally process it. However, the patient’s trauma memory is able to spontaneously produce very vivid memories. Another stress reaction includes changes in the stress hormones system and various messenger substances in the brain which cause extreme agitation.

The manner in which affected persons handle the trauma in their social environment can also impact the symptoms. Social recognition and the reaction in the family and group of friends and peers as well as in the city or community can also have an impact on coping with trauma.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: Symptoms indicating a disorder

Stressful memories can arise spontaneously or be triggered by stimuli associated with the trauma. Sometimes, the person suffers from memory attacks (flashbacks) that are so realistic they feel like they are experiencing it again. Or, fragments of memory emerge such as smells, sounds or physical sensations that don’t appear to have any connection to the incidents.

Affected persons try, by any means, to prevent the stressful images and thoughts. They avoid places and things associated with the trauma. If, for instance, the trauma is the result of a car accident, affected persons will avoid the accident sight or driving in general.

In addition, people with PTSD feel emotionally numb. They no longer want to be around other people and feel alienated. They constantly feel threatened and their body is in a constant state of alert.

Other signs indicating PTSD
  • sleep disorders frequent infections reduced ability to cope with emotional stress cynicism irritability
  • nightmares
  • neglecting personal hygiene
  • increased alcohol consumption
  • increased pill consumption
  • avoidance behaviour
  • relationship and marriage problems


Diagnosis: Great sensitivity is required here

The affected person’s ability to trust has often been shaken by the trauma and they find it difficult to trust other people. They believe no one can understand how they feel. Many are also afraid that by talking about the event, painful memories will arise and, as a result, may become even more stressful.
Our therapists at Schoen Clinic therefore place great value on having the diagnostic interview in a safe, respectful environment without interruptions. We will tactfully feel our way toward the cause of the post-traumatic stress disoder and discuss the further course of treatment with the patient.