What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
If you experience a life-threatening or traumatic event, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of PTSD can include avoidance, severe anxiety, and flashbacks.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs in response to experiencing or witnessing a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Newer diagnostic criteria also consider the effect of repeated exposure to traumatic events as part of employment.
Over time, the trauma response naturally diminishes in most people. If a triggering incident is leaving you struggling, you should seek treatment. Some people who don’t have a strong support system after a traumatic event are more likely to develop PTSD.
If you have significant symptoms of stress that are impacting your social interactions, ability to work, or other areas of your life in negative ways, you may be developing chronic PTSD.
Not all events that trigger PTSD include violence. Experiences like the unexpected death of a loved one can cause symptoms to occur in some people.
PTSD can affect people of all ages including young children, adolescents, and adults.
What Are The Causes Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD can be caused by exposure to combat, abuse during childhood, sexual assault, physical assault, or witnessing disturbing events. It can also be caused by living through a natural disaster. Even though you cannot change the fact that the trauma occurred, you can receive treatment designed to reduce the resulting symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of PTSD?
It’s natural and normal to feel fear or stress after a traumatic event. Symptoms usually surface quickly following an incident, but there are cases of PTSD where symptoms don’t develop for months or years.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD are:
- Re-experiencing symptoms like flashbacks, bad dreams, or negative thoughts. These symptoms might be accompanied by physical responses such as racing pulse, rapid heartbeat, or sweating
- Avoidance symptoms like staying away from certain places, objects, or people because of association with the traumatic event. You may also avoid thinking about the event or your feelings associated with the event.
- Reactivity symptoms like being easily startled, feeling tense or “on edge,” prone to angry outbursts, feeling numb, or having trouble sleeping or concentrating.
For children (6 and older), adolescents, and adults, a diagnosis of PTSD is usually made if symptoms last for more than 30 days after a traumatic event.
Very young children may express their PTSD symptoms through repetitive play or experiencing nightmares.
Do I Need An Evaluation To Be Diagnosed With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
If you have PTSD, you may have risk factors for other mental health conditions. People develop anxiety or depression as part of the overall trauma response. It’s important to get a full evaluation from a healthcare provider following a traumatic experience.
At Elite DNA Behavioral Health, we take a holistic approach to developing your tailored treatment plan. We look at everything such as your sleeping habits, lifestyle, physical health, and what your body and mind are experiencing to diagnose PTSD.
Our mental health professionals can address each of these areas. Typically, treating of PTSD will include some form of talk therapy, psychiatry services and, as needed, medication.
What Are The Treatment Options For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Types of psychotherapy that are beneficial for PTSD include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
- Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)