Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more often called PTSD is a disorder that develops as a result of one or more traumatic experiences. Traumatic experience may involve physical danger, but an emotionally intense event, like the death of a child can also result in PTSD. It isn’t unusual for people to be unaware of their condition prior to diagnosis. They may notice the symptoms but attribute them to something other than the traumatic events.  Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of the initiating trauma. In order to qualify as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder an adult must experience the core symptoms for at least a month.

This includes:

  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • One or more re-experiencing symptoms
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • Two or more cognition and mood symptoms

PTSD affects about 3.6% of the U.S. adult population. About 37% of those diagnosed with PTSD are classified as having symptoms. Women are more likely to experience PTSD than men. Symptoms usually begin within 3 months of an event but can sometimes appear years later. Many people who have PTSD are unaware of their diagnosis until they see a professional. They are well aware that they are experiencing symptoms but may not realize they are connected to traumatic events.

Others may be under the impression that there is nothing that can be done about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is not true of course. There are several effective, evidence-based methods of care that are proven to deliver real relief for people living with this condition. It takes time to recover from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but with the right help from a trauma-informed mental health program and some willingness, great strides can be made and you or your loved one can get your life back.

PTSD Symptoms May Include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Feeling emotionally numb or ‘dead inside’
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or memory problems
  • Irritability, uncharacteristically aggressive behavior or anger
  • Avoiding places and activities that remind you of the event
  • Nightmares and/or flashbacks and reliving the event
  • Recurring, distressing memories of traumatic events
  • Hopelessness about the future, things getting better
  • Trouble with emotional intimacy and relationships
  • Being easily startled, frightened/being on guard for danger

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What are Some Other Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms of PTSD often vary in intensity over time. You may have more symptoms when you are under stress or experience something that reminds you of the traumatic event(s). For example, you see someone who looks like a person who assaulted you or you hear fireworks and are reminded of a traumatic experience in combat. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has a way of taking over your life and making it very difficult to relax and enjoy things as you used to.

PTSD can interfere with relationships, work, school, sleep, and physical health. The symptoms can be dramatic and appear when you least expect them. The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center wants you to know that you or your loved one do not have to face the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder alone. We can do a great deal to help you overcome this condition and live a more peaceful and pleasurable life. All it takes is a phone call to put the wheels in motion toward a better life.

The Value of Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is a mental health treatment that considers the needs of trauma survivors. It recognizes the role trauma can play in other conditions, such as substance use disorders. Trauma-informed care accepts that treating the effects of trauma is necessary for complete recovery to occur. Treatment that is trauma-aware helps people become aware of the impact trauma has had on their lives and helps them learn to trust again.

The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a trauma-informed mental health treatment program. The trauma-informed treatment at SBMHC leverages our knowledge of how the brain processes trauma. By understanding how trauma changes the brain, trauma-informed treatment can more effectively counteract its effects. In essence we observe the effects of trauma and then utilize therapies which counteract those effects. Trauma can make a person feel afraid, overwhelmed and threatened and affects their ability to trust. Trauma makes many people feel helpless and can diminish their sense of self-worth. 

Trauma-informed mental health treatment works to:

  • Make people feel physically safe
  • Help people learn to trust and to feel in control
  • Show people their boundaries will be respected
  • Empower people with both choice and capabilities
  • Improve their self-esteem and confidence

Treatment for PTSD

There are a variety of evidence-based treatment methods which can help facilitate recovery from PTSD. They range from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to pharmacotherapy (medication) to EMDR and wellness approaches including meditation, yoga, exercise, and nutrition. The most effective treatment plans tend to include several of these elements. In combination, they can have a synergistic effect which provides the patient with more relief and resolution than they might have otherwise experienced.

If you believe you or someone you love is living with PTSD, call The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center at (954) 758-4174

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