Are you experience lingering anxiety, fear, and depression from a traumatic event? Do you feel powerless to manage the thoughts and emotions surrounding what happened to you? If you have been experiencing these feelings for more than a month after the event, you might be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
PTSD is a mental health issue that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as physical or sexual violence, childhood abuse, a natural disaster, terrorism or war/combat, a natural disaster, a serious accident, or any other life-threatening event.
PTSD is experienced by nearly four percent of adults in the U.S. Women experience PTSD at twice the rate as men, but anyone can experience PTSD at any age.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
A diagnosis of PTSD must include symptoms in the following categories.
- Intrusive thoughts–repeated memories, distressing dreams, or flashbacks of the traumatic event. It may feel like you are reliving the event.
- Avoiding reminders—avoiding people, places, activities, objects, or situations that remind you of the trauma. You may try to avoid thinking or talking about the event.
- Negative thoughts and feelings—negative thoughts like “I am bad,” “I can’t trust people,” “I’m not safe.” Persistent feelings of fear, anger, guilt, shame, being detached, or alone. Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
- Arousal and reactive symptoms—irritability, anger outbursts, reckless and self-destructive behavior, being easily startled, on edge, poor concentration, and insomnia.
These are common symptoms of acute stress, but if they persist beyond a month, they meet the diagnosis for PTSD. Symptoms can appear months or years after a trauma and can persist for months or even years if left untreated.
The good news is PTSD is very treatable! You don’t have to be stuck with PTSD for the rest of your life.
How Can Treatment Help?
I am trained in EMDR and CBT, treatments which have research-based evidence of their effectiveness in successfully treating PTSD.
- EMDR – EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This technique uses bilateral sensory input such as side-to-side eye movements or tapping to stimulate the brain to process difficult thoughts, memories, and emotions, reducing their disturbance dramatically. Negative beliefs are replaced with positive beliefs that allow you to see yourself in a healthy light with a new ability to cope with life.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a form of talk therapy that focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are related to one another. The goal of CBT is to help you change your thinking patterns surrounding the event, giving you a sense of well-being, improving emotions, and adopting healthier behaviors.
I have personally seen my client’s lives transformed as a result of therapy for PTSD. If you are suffering symptoms of PTSD and would like to find relief, please reach out to me for a free phone consultation.