(post-traumatic stress disorder)
Reliving trauma is painful. We can help.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced or witnessed a shocking, scary or dangerous event, including abuse, abandonment, neglect and domestic violence. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts that interfere with daily functioning and last for months or even years following the event. These symptoms may begin soon after the event or take years to develop. PTSD may look and feel like depression or rage, but it is different.
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms can vary over time and from person to person. They are grouped into four types:
Intrusive memories may include:
- Recurrent, distressing memories of the traumatic event
- Reliving the event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
- Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the event
- Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind the person of the event
Avoidance may include:
- Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
- Avoiding places, activities or people that remind the person of the traumatic event
Negative changes in thinking and mood may include:
- Negative thoughts about oneself, other people or the world
- Hopelessness about the future
- Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Feeling detached from family and friends
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Feeling emotionally numb
Changes in physical and emotional reactions (arousal) may include:
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Feeling on-guard for danger most of the time
- Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
For children 6-years-old and younger, signs and symptoms may also include:
- Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of it through play
- Frightening dreams that may or may not include aspects of the traumatic event
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD is probably caused by a combination of:
- Stressful experiences, including the amount and severity of trauma
- Inherited mental health risks, such as a family history of anxiety and depression
- Inherited features of personality — often called temperament
- The way the brain regulates the chemicals and hormones the body releases in response to stress
Treatment for PTSD
- Individual therapy – Psychotherapists use a variety of techniques to help people recover from mental illness, resolve personal issues and make beneficial changes in their lives.
- Medication – The brains of people with PTSD process “threats” differently and have an easily triggered “fight or flight” response, which makes them jumpy and on-edge. Medications help people stop thinking about and reacting to what happened and can help people feel more optimistic about themselves and their lives.
- TMS – Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive treatment that uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of PTSD.
- Group therapy – Participants are encouraged and supported by a therapist and peers in a group setting.
Why Seek Help for PTSD?
Untreated PTSD is unlikely to go away on its own and can contribute to chronic pain, depression, substance abuse and sleep problems that make working and interacting with others very difficult.
There is no need to suffer with PTSD. With treatment, trauma survivors can feel safer in the world and live happier, more productive lives. Treatment helps people to:
- Make sense of the trauma
- Learn skills to better handle negative thoughts and feelings
- Reconnect with loved ones
- Set manageable goals for activities like work or school
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from PTSD, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.