One in thirteen 18-year-olds in England and Wales suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to a recent study. Half of those experienced a traumatic episode in the last 12 months.
The study, published by the Journal Lancet Psychiatry, reveals that over 31% of the 2,064 participants who were 18-years-old had experienced trauma at some point in life.
PTSD is a common disorder associated with the anxiety caused by distressing or intensely stressful events and can lead those suffering to contemplate taking their own lives. Donna Orr, a psychologist in Newcastle, said:
“It is reasonable to predict that someone struggling with symptoms of either or both PTSD and depression will be more likely to also experience suicidal thoughts.
“Many people carry guilt or shame associated with the distressing event and this makes them reluctant to talk to anyone about it. A label or “diagnosis” of PTSD is not necessary if someone wants to get help with any problem they are suffering.”
Leonora Bateman, 22, from Sunderland, was diagnosed with PTSD at the age of 16. At 15, she witnessed a blind man being hit by a moving train on the same day as her grandfather’s funeral.
“I remember seeing him being in folded in half. I am never going to forget it,” she says.
As a result Leonora still suffers with night terrors from the accident and, as a teenager, she frequently woke up to bruises from hitting the furniture while sleeping.
Bullying also was a big part of Leonora’s PTSD. After she made her bisexuality public, she became a victim of intense bullying. She experienced vocal and physical bullying before she stopped going to classes.
“I didn’t want to go to school anymore,” she added.
Today, Leonora is struggling with depression and avoids using public transport for fear of running into teenagers.
Leonora only found help after the night terrors started. She said: “Things would be different now if I had gotten help from a professional sooner.”
To contact a professional or gain more information about PTSD, follow the link to this Helpline .