Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a common psychological response to a traumatic experience. It can be incredibly debilitating and life-changing, but there are treatments that can help.
What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects an estimated 8% of Americans at any given time. PTSD develops in response to a trauma. This might be military combat, a motor vehicle accident, sexual assault, or witnessing a loved one’s death.
Everyone has some symptoms of distress after experiencing a traumatic event. For some people, these symptoms resolve in the weeks or months following the incident. For others, distressing symptoms may persist and cause severe impairments in quality of life. This is known as posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
It is important to note that anyone can develop PTSD after witnessing a trauma. Having symptoms of PTSD does not mean that you are weak or worthless. It simply means that your mind is having difficulty letting go of the traumatic event you experienced.
Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
The symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms include:
• Having nightmares about the event
• Seeing, hearing, or smelling something that reminds you of the event
• Having flashbacks, in which you feel as though you were back in the traumatic event
• Avoiding crowds or other situations that feel dangerous
• Intense psychological distress when you see or hear something that reminds you of the trauma
• Experiencing a physiological response (i.e., nausea, dizziness) when you are reminded of the trauma
• Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event
• Negative beliefs about yourself or the world (e.g., “I am a terrible person.” “The world is an unsafe place.”)
• Blaming yourself for what happened
• Feeling shame, horror, fear, anger, or guilt
• Feeling detached from other people, even those you love
• Loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy
• Inability to feel positive emotions such as joy or happiness
• Getting in fights or other aggressive behaviors
• Recklessness or self-destructive behavior
• Feeling constantly “on guard”
• Concentration problems
• Problems falling asleep or staying asleep
As is clear from the list above, PTSD can cause profound changes to your life. These symptoms may result in difficulty functioning at work, in relationships, at home, or at school. Getting treatment is essential to being able to get back to your regular self again.
Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
The most important thing to recognize about PTSD is that you do not need to suffer alone. Our PTSD team has experienced professionals who understand what you are going through. We are here to help you navigate the aftermath of the trauma and learn how to re-engage in your regular life.
There are several effective treatments for PTSD. At Sunrise Behavioral Health Clinic, we offer specialized programs to address aspects of PTSD that may be interfering with your life. Many of these treatments involve processing the trauma so that your mind no longer becomes “stuck” on the traumatic experience. This does not mean that we want you to avoid or ignore the trauma; rather, our mental health professionals can help you process the event so that it no longer causes you severe distress. These treatments might include thinking about the traumatic memory, talking about it, or discussing your beliefs about the trauma. Although this can sound scary, our PTSD experts are here to support and guide you at every step along the way.
We offer PTSD services in English or Spanish. Contact our clinic today to learn how we can help you cope with the aftermath of trauma.