What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
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.
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
Who Gets PTSD? Can PTSD Treatment Help?
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 PTSD. This is not true of course. There are a number of effective, evidence-based methods of care which 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 their life back.
What are Some 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 hear fireworks and be 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 Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic wants you to know that you or your loved one do not have to face the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder alone. There is a great deal that we can do 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 towards a better life.
Symptoms of PTSD 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
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.
How Do I Know If I Have An Anxiety Disorder?
Only a trained medical professional can formally diagnose an anxiety disorder. You should be careful to avoid self-diagnosis or having another non-professional label you with a specific condition. That said, if you know whether or not you have persistent feelings of worry, dread or panic that are serious enough to undermine your quality of life.
You can tell if you seem to be much more frightened of certain things than anyone else you know. It’s not important that you diagnose yourself and figure out exactly what type of disorder you have. Anxiety disorders are best addressed with professional support. That’s the only way to ensure you get the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment you deserve. Here are some symptoms of an anxiety order you can self-assess yourself for.
Often tired or restless
Hypervigilance or paranoia
Sense of impending doom
Heart palpitations, racing heart
Excessive worry, fear or dread
Stomach cramps and/or nausea
Difficulty concentrating, especially due to racing thoughts
Unwanted annoying or disturbing thoughts that recur
Again, only a medical professional can formally diagnose a mental health disorder. But, If you have two or more of these symptoms regularly, it’s possible you have a disorder and it’s worthwhile getting a professional assessment. The next section defines some of the most common types of anxiety disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) so you can familiarize yourself with their symptoms.
More Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This disorder features excess and persisting worry and anxiety about people, places, things or events. Part of what makes it a disorder is that the anxiety can arise over very ordinary and routine issues, for example a plumber coming to your home to do a repair or plans to go out to the movies with friends. The other part which helps define it (and all anxiety disorders) is the persistence. It’s not something that just happens once or twice. Rather it is a regular behavior that’s part of a person’s life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a form of anxiety disorder which is the result of trauma. It may manifest after a single experience, like a bad car accident or plane crash. More complex forms of PTSD can arise from multiple experiences across a period of time. For example, being in active combat during war or surviving repeated sexual assaults or psychological abuse events. PT
Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia
Social phobia is similar to GAD, except that all of the feelings of worry and dread are associated with other people. It is characterized by extreme fear or avoidance of social situations. People with this condition are often acutely frightened of being embarrassed or judged by others and are particularly self-conscious.
A panic disorder is characterized by “panic attacks”. These are repeated episodes where feelings of intense anxiety and fear come about and rapidly reach a climax where a person may hyperventilate, shake, sweat or even faint and lose consciousness. It can be very difficult for a person in the midst of a panic attack to see things clearly or listen to and understand instructions or reasoning.
Specific phobias are less common than some of the other anxiety disorders. They are focused on one specific object or location. For example, Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) is a specific phobia. A person with this disorder may not show any unusual signs of anxiety, worry or panic in their everyday life. But when they are exposed to the subject of their phobia (clowns, in this case) they may react with anything from nervousness and unease to a full-blown panic attack.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have An Anxiety Disorder?
If you believe you or someone you care about may have PTSD or another anxiety disorder, your next step should be to seek relief. There’s no reason to continue to be subject to the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. This is particularly true in this day and age when treatment for anxiety disorders has made tremendous strides.
Effective treatments for PTSD and other anxiety conditions exist. It does take time and effort, but if you are willing and persistent, the chances you can substantially reduce your symptoms are good. All it takes to start is contacting us here at The Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.
Help for PTSD is Here
The Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic is committed to delivering the best mental health and addiction treatment available. We can help you or the one you love too, but you need to make the first move. Call us now at (888) 574-3506 or send us a message using this form.