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PTSD

Mental Health Services - PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that may develop after experiencing a dangerous, life-threatening, or shocking event(s), such as a sexual assault, a natural disaster, a car accident, or combat/war. The National Center for PTSD estimates that eight million adults are diagnosed with PTSD every year. What are the symptoms for this common condition, and how is it treated?

Symptoms of PTSD

 

After experiencing a traumatic situation, it's normal to feel scared or have trouble sleeping for a period of time; however, if several months have passed and you still have symptoms that are affecting your daily life, you might have PTSD.
Not everyone experiences PTSD the same way, but there are four general categories of symptoms used in diagnosing PTSD. These include:

  • Intrusive thoughts, such as nightmares of the event and flashbacks where you feel like you're reliving the traumatic event.
  • Avoidance symptoms, such as avoiding places, activities, or people that may remind you of the traumatic event. Most people will also try to avoid thinking or speaking about the traumatic event.
  • Changes in emotional and physical behavior, including aggressive behavior or angry outbursts, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, and engaging in reckless behavior like driving recklessly or abusing drugs and alcohol.
  • Negative feelings and thoughts, such as intense guilt or shame, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, feeling detached from other people, and feeling numb emotionally.

Treatments of PTSD

 

There are several treatment options for people suffering from PTSD that may involve psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both.

  • Therapy

    Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, involves meeting with a therapist and may occur in a group setting or one-on-one. Cognitive-processing therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which people confront negative emotions / memories and learn how to change their thinking processes about the trauma they experienced. Exposure therapy is another treatment option that helps people gain control of their fear by exposing them to the traumatic situation they experienced in a safe, controlled environment, increasing their coping skills.

    Another psychotherapy option our office provides is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which is a treatment specifically designed to treat trauma, helping the client process disturbing memories

  • Medication

    Another effective treatment option involves medication and may include antidepressants to manage symptoms of depression, anti-anxiety medications, and medications to improve sleep quality.

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