Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that occurs following a traumatic event and experience. A traumatic experience is characterized as a shocking, scary, or dangerous event that often causes emotional, spiritual and psychological harm. The onset of PTSD and its corollary symptoms affect each individual differently and the onset of PTSD often ranges from anywhere between 3 months to years following the traumatic event. PTSD can occur to anyone irrespective of age and is especially common among war veterans, children, survivors of sexual assaults, abuse, physical harm and those who have experienced natural disasters or accidents.
People experiencing PTSD may have overwhelming, jarring thoughts and emotions specific to their triggering event that can last for years following their traumatic experience. These flashbacks can appear as recurring nightmares, pervasive feelings of sadness, anger and anxiety. PTSD can also challenge one’s relationships, making it especially difficult to connect. Those struggling with PTSD often resort to avoiding behaviors, whereby one might avoid reminders of their trauma such as people, situations or places.At the same time, those experiencing PTSD are prone to heightened sensory experiences whereby particular noises and sights can recall traumatic events.
For PTSD to be diagnosed, a person must experience the following symptoms for more than a month. The symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with relationships, work and everyday duties.
- Intrusive thoughts: These thoughts are characterized as recurring, reflexive memories that cause dysregulation by invoking traumatic events as flashbacks. They can feel exceptionally vivid and realistic and often assume the form of nightmares.
- Avoidance: Those experiencing PTSD will typically try to avoid interactions that recall their trauma. A hallmark trait of PTSD is an effort to avoid people, places and situations that trigger traumatic memories.
- Negative Thoughts: PTSD makes people prone to a distorted sense of self and overly negative beliefs.Feelings such as detachment, shame, anger and fear can make it challenging to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones and detachment from daily life.
- Arousal and reactivity: A person experiencing PTSD may act recklessly or behave in a self-destructive way. They are prone to irritably, angry outbursts and issues sleeping and concentrating.
Fortunately, research suggests that sustained therapeutic interventions can help clients reprocess their PTSD and mitigate the long-term symptoms of PTSD. Among the psychotherapeutic approaches, exposure-oriented work has been shown to have the greatest, sustained success. Modalities such as Prolonged Exposure, Somatic Experiencing and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) all work to systematically approach safe but feared stimuli without the expected consequences. Over repetition and time, clients learn to conquer their fears and process their trauma.
At Resilience Treatment Center clients, when deemed clinically appropriate, are provided a safe and supportive space to begin the groundwork for processing complex trauma. Utilizing evidence-based modalities, Resilience therapists are specialists in providing tailored and effective care to overcome your traumatic experiences and cultivate empowering and supportive relationships.