Treatments for PTSD come in many forms, from undergoing therapy to taking prescription medications that target symptoms. Treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual, depending on the severity of their disorder and the type of trauma endured.
About 70% of American adults experience some form of traumatic event during their lifetime. While many people can successfully move past these events, some may find it difficult to cope and struggle with their mental health, which can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Without proper treatment, this condition can be debilitating, but there are many PTSD medicines and types of therapy available that can help you heal from trauma.
What Is PTSD?
A person can develop PTSD after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, including a car accident, serious injury, rape or sexual assault, war violence or the loss of a loved one. An affected individual can suffer from nightmares, paranoia, stress or severe anxiety. Flashbacks of the event may also occur, creating uncomfortable emotions that can interfere with your daily responsibilities and make it difficult to concentrate at school or work.
Most PTSD symptoms start about a month after a traumatic event. However, some may not appear until years later, causing negative mood changes, intrusive memories, changes in physical or emotional reactions and avoidance of situations reminiscent of the traumatic experience. Although PTSD affects about 3.6% of U.S. adults each year, many people may not realize they have the condition or seek PTSD treatment due to mental health stigmas. However, a combination of therapy and PTSD medicines can often help with managing symptoms.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD can be caused by a wide range of events, including a standalone traumatic experience or prolonged exposure to stressful situations. Some of the most common causes of PTSD include:
- Military service: Several aspects of military service can lead to the development of PTSD, including experiencing or witnessing war violence. It’s reported that 7 out of 100 veterans will struggle with PTSD at some point in their lives.
- Sexual trauma: Those who experience sexual trauma as a child or adult are at an increased risk of developing PTSD. Victims may start to experience symptoms right away or have a delayed reaction as they process their trauma.
- First responder service: First responders in high-stress occupations, such as firefighters, police or EMTs, are at a higher risk of developing PTSD due to repeatedly facing intense and stressful situations. It can be a single event or a series of traumatic events that lead to mental health issues.
- Childhood physical abuse: Experiencing physical abuse as a child can cause strong feelings of fear and stress that may lead to PTSD in adulthood. Adults who experience or witness domestic violence can also develop PTSD.
- Violent threats: Being trapped in a violent or aggressive situation involving a weapon, such as a knife or gun, can trigger feelings of acute stress, fear and powerlessness. These intense feelings can alter a person’s thoughts and behaviors, resulting in PTSD.
PTSD Treatment in South Florida
Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a psychiatric condition that can manifest in people who’ve been exposed to traumatic event. This condition can affect people’s lives regardless of whether they experienced or were witnesses to events such as natural disasters, violence, terrorism, war or combat. Those who suffer PTSD have found that this disorder can interfere with their lives in a number of ways. From feeling anger and sadness to constantly reliving the traumatic event in dreams or nightmares, as well as negative reactions to situations or people that they relate to the traumatic event, PTSD can be a debilitating and disabling condition.
Because of how differently PTSD can affect an individual, when treating trauma, a “one-size-fits-all” solution may not be the best choice and a more personalized and targeted focus may be required. Thankfully, Restore Mental Health offers a variety of psychological trauma treatment options that can help.
Do You Suffer From PTSD? Signs and Symptoms
If you’ve lived through a traumatic event, it’s possible you may have already developed PTSD, but it can be difficult to recognize. Let’s look at some ways PTSD can interfere with your life before we reviewing emotional trauma treatment options below.
- Intrusive thoughts: One of the most common symptoms of PTSD is intrusive thoughts, which involve involuntarily remembering the event and having nightmares or flashbacks about it. These memories, dreams and flashbacks can advance to the point that they become so vivid and realistic that the patient believes the event is happening all over again.
- Avoiding specific situations: Because of the way PTSD interferes in a person’s life, patients find themselves avoiding a number of situations, places and even activities or objects that remind them of their traumatic experience. It’s also common for them to avoid talking about what happened and even go so far as to try to avoid remembering it.
- Changes in mood and feelings towards oneself or others: PTSD can alter a person’s life so much that they start having distorted views and emotions about themselves and the way they perceive other people. These changes can range from subtle feelings of rejection to outright horror, shame or fear, among others. Self-blame (“it’s my fault this happened”) can lead to a number of negative thoughts and actions.
- Changes in the way the patient reacts to certain situations: Angry outbursts, feeling highly irritable and volatile and being hypervigilant are common symptoms of PTSD. Additionally, being unable to concentrate and suffering from insomnia can be a sign of post-traumatic issues.
PTSD can be the root cause of other serious health problems, which is why treating emotional trauma should start as soon as possible after the patient experiences a life-changing event.
Understanding the Need for Treatment of PTSD
To many people, PTSD and its effects on a person’s life can seem like a sign of weakness or the inability to cope with the aftermath of a negative experience, but nothing is farther from the truth. PTSD is a condition that can affect just about anybody, regardless of gender, color, religious beliefs or upbringing. It’s been estimated that approximately 6% of American adults suffer from some degree of PTSD, but only one out of 11 will be diagnosed with this condition during their lifetime. Because of this, finding the correct treatment for trauma is an increasingly urgent need in our communities.
One of the main concerns in patients who seek emotional trauma treatment is the perception others might have of them and their ability to deal with negative experiences. In reality, the large majority of people have had to deal with their own trauma, which is why they’re empathetic and compassionate about others dealing with similar issues. This is one of the main reasons emotional trauma treatment is so necessary and important for those living with PTSD. Treating trauma will help patients improve the way they perceive themselves, allowing them to improve their outlook on life.
Dealing With Trauma: Treatment Options for PTSD
Treatment for trauma and PTSD can come in a variety of forms, from simply talking to an experienced therapist to using prescription medication. Each patient’s road to recovery will be tailored to their specific needs. It must be noted that sometimes one form of treatment for trauma can be enough, but many times a combination of one or more options may be the best choice for a specific person. Each treatment option is different and deals with different aspects and degrees of severity of the disorder. Let’s take a look:
- Talk therapy for PTSD: As its name suggests, this form of treatment for trauma consists of allowing the patient to talk about their experience and the feelings resulting from living through it. At the same time, it focuses on helping the patient modify the negative emotions of having failed or the shame stemming from it. Talk therapy can take two forms. It can be through individual therapy, where the patient spends their time with a therapist in a space that’s comfortable and safe, or group therapy, where the patient can share with other survivors and learn from their experiences. At the same time, patients in group therapy can come to realize that they’re not alone in the way they’re feeling and reacting to the negative event they’ve been affected by. Eventually, talk therapy may include a patient’s family members, depending on the way their disorder affects their family dynamics.
- CBT for PTSD: Cognitive behavioral therapy is another way to help the PTSD patient modify the painful emotions and beliefs that come with the disorder. This form of therapy, similar to talk therapy, is focused on helping the patient confront the memories of the event while dealing with the emotions in a controlled and nonjudgmental setting. The main goal of CBT is to alter a patient’s negative feelings and reactions and restructure them into healthy behaviors and self-regulation. It can also be performed on an individual basis or in a group setting. Recent studies have shown that CBT, coupled with other forms of therapy, results in a 48% or higher reduction of PTSD symptoms under certain conditions.
- Exposure therapy for PTSD: Treating trauma and PTSD can often involve exposure to places or objects that trigger the symptoms of PTSD. Depending on the specifics, this can mean looking at photos of an abuser, visiting the site of an accident or even listening to sounds similar to those during the event itself. This exposure is done under controlled and safe conditions and is focused on helping the patient learn how to control the fear and anxiety these triggers produce while learning how to cope with the effects of the negative event.
- Medications for PTSD: Two FDA-approved medications, Zoloft and Paxil, have been used to relieve some of the symptoms of PTSD, including insomnia, depression and anxiety, allowing the patient to participate more willingly in therapy. This treatment option seems to be adequate for a number of patients in combination with another form of psychotherapy and treatment.
Other options, such as VR technology, stress inoculation and psychodynamic therapy have also shown advances in patients with PTSD, even those who don’t wish to be exposed to the various situations that trigger their symptoms. Because of this, each patient must be evaluated individually in order to find the treatment combination that works best at bringing the relief they so desperately need.
Treatment in South Florida for PTSD
When you’re dealing with PTSD in South Florida, you should know that you’re not alone and help is available. This is one road you don’t have to travel on your own, and there are people who know and understand what you’re going through and can help you learn how to cope with the pain of trauma and PTSD. To get the relief you’re looking for, contact us at Restore Mental Health. Help is available 24/7 by calling (855) 651-6975, so start down your path to a healthier life by giving us a call today.