Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that people sometimes develop in response to a traumatic event. The disorder often causes symptoms such as avoidance, intrusive thoughts, and flashbacks.
There are a variety of reasons a person can develop PTSD, but this mental health concern is one that can be best treated when it’s clearly understood.
Unfortunately, some people who live with PTSD think that they can never recover from their symptoms because they cannot erase the trauma. Nystrom & Associates wants any such person to know that there is hope. Mental health care providers can help you reduce symptoms of PTSD or even make a full recovery.
Signs & Symptoms of PTSD
While people often associate PTSD with combat veterans, they are not the only people who can develop the disorder. Anyone who experiences trauma is at risk for PTSD. The key risk factor is experiencing a triggering event, but not everyone with trauma will develop PTSD.
Here are some examples of symptoms of PTSD:
- Intrusive thoughts or memories of the event
- Flashbacks – feeling as if the traumatic event is happening all over again
- Nightmares – scary dreams about the trauma
- Avoiding places that remind the person of their trauma
- Depression – Some people who have PTSD have a sense of hopelessness after trauma
- Isolation – A person, might retreat from friends and family after experiencing a traumatic event
- Irritability – Feeling irritable is common for survivors of trauma
- Angry outbursts – Someone who has suffered a traumatic event may feel out of control at times and lash out at others as a result.
What Can Trigger PTSD?
Possible triggers include:
- Witnessing or being the victim of a violent crime
- Being affected by a natural disaster
- Witnessing or being the victim of a terrorist attack
- Being in or witnessing a serious car accident
- Train derailments, plane accidents, or other disasters
- The sudden death of a loved one
- Any other kind of violence or gore
Therapy Can Help
There are many different kinds of therapy or counseling that can treat PTSD. Some of them include EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). In EMDR, the patient is exposed to stimuli associated with their trauma. They learn to tolerate distress, and eventually their PTSD symptoms, triggers, flashbacks, and nightmares, decrease. There is also Cognitive Behavior Therapy, where the client learns to reframe their thoughts, and as a result their emotions change.
Someone with PTSD may have a lot of anxiety because of their trauma. When they learn how to improve their negative thought patterns, it can become easier to learn to be at peace. Exposure therapy is another standard treatment for people with PTSD. The person is either gradually or rapidly exposed to something that they’re afraid of (similar to EMDR) and learns that they’re not in danger. These are a few treatment options for people living with PTSD, however there are many more.