Trauma occurs when a stressful event is experienced or witnessed. This psychiatric condition does not have to be a singular event but can take place over time or across a series of traumatic events over many years. Stress and posttraumatic stress disorder can build-up due to feelings of anxiety, horror, shock, and extreme helplessness.
There is a wide range of events that might trigger trauma and stress, for example, a natural disaster may trigger PTSD for both men and women, but for others, it could be from a serious injury that occurred in an accident, physical or sexual violence, and abuse or wartime experiences, which is sometimes referred to as "shell shock".
There are many different symptoms of psychological trauma and PTSD symptoms that can affect people. Mental health patients may experience:
Following a traumatic event, a person with PTSD experiences symptoms for at least a month. Sometimes symptoms don't initially show for months, or even years, following the trauma itself. PTSD symptoms can be categorized into four categories. There is a wide range of severity within each category.
- Intrusion: This is characterized by the intrusion of repeated, uncontrollable memories, distressing dreams, or flashbacks of the traumatizing event. In some cases, flashbacks can be so vivid that people believe they are reliving or seeing the traumatic event.
- Avoidance: People, places, things, and situations that could trigger memories of the traumatic event should be avoided so as to prevent triggers. Avoiding memories could possibly be an option. Clients may not express how they feel or what happened to them.
- Alterations in cognition and mood: Failure to recall important aspects of the traumatic occurrences, harmful thoughts and feelings resulting in distorted beliefs about oneself and others; inaccurate perception of the cause or consequences of the event; feelings of fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed; feeling disconnected from others; difficulty expressing positive emotions; or feeling estranged from others.
- Alterations in arousal and reactivity: Symptoms of arousal and reactive behaviors may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; acting recklessly or self-destructively; feeling suspicious of one's surroundings, having difficulty concentrating or sleeping.
A person who has been through a trauma may not develop PTSD. Trauma-related symptoms may last for some weeks or months to work themselves out. This is a normal response to a traumatic event. It might take some time for people to adjust to what has happened. After a few weeks, stress symptoms should start to subside, in non-acute cases, ideally (the exceptions to this are cases where professionals can help the most).
Mental health professionals will have different ways of approaching trauma treatment of people suffering from PTSD. There are some known and very successful treatment methods and mental health services that PTSD psychiatrists may turn to in the course of treating your trauma.
Usually, these are a combination of careful medication and behavioral changes to help both women and men patients cope with their day-to-day life and work.
A traumatic experience can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety later on. Through psychotherapy, psychiatry often combines the skills of a therapist with in-depth knowledge of medicine which will help people cope with their stress and symptoms of PTSD.
Antidepressant medications, for example, can include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These will often be used by PTSD psychiatrists in the first stages of treating PTSD, depression, and other related mental disorders after the patient has been diagnosed.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
A PTSD expert might also suggest this type of therapy to slowly help a patient overcome their trauma. This treatment is a type of behavioral therapy and provides the person who is suffering from PTSD with tools and coping mechanisms to treat their symptoms and anxiety.
Mental health experts will first evaluate their patients to ensure that any risk is minimal before they suggest exposure therapy for the PTSD condition that may work. If you have feelings and concerns that exposure to trauma may cause you mental harm, then let your doctor know, and another psychotherapy treatment aside from exposure therapy can be pursued.
Compassion fatigue scale is widely acknowledged as a course for occupational burnout. Additionally, several studies have found that it negatively affects mental and physical well-being.
First and foremost, it is important to be diagnosed with PTSD so that psychiatrists can begin to provide the necessary treatment that will work to alleviate the stress and symptoms that are affecting your life. Mental health professionals will also be able to give you practical help, tools, and accurate mental health information to improve self-esteem and make life easier as you heal from your traumatic experience.
You and your loved one will benefit from understanding each other's feelings. Victims of PTSD often feel helpless and terrified. Sleep disturbances, hypervigilance, as well as feelings of fear and helplessness are most likely affecting your loved one.
He or she may feel like control has been taken away from them. PTSD is characterized by these symptoms. Your loved one will be less able to make sound decisions for treatment if he or she is stressed or sleep-deprived.
PTSD sufferers can be helped in a variety of ways. Get educated about the disorder so you know what to expect and how to relate to your loved one. Acknowledge the feelings expressed by your loved one. Stress the importance of treatment. Spend some time with your loved one, walking or engaging in some other peaceful activity. Your loved one will benefit from rejoining the world. Be as patient as you can, and show your support as much as you can.
People with PTSD feel as if they don't have control over their lives. You can assist your loved ones in their recovery by taking an active role. Focusing on healing the rift left by trauma is a good practice.
You can help your loved one spend time with family and friends. Encourage them to leave the house for a couple of minutes each day. As a step toward empowerment, you might suggest getting involved in PTSD awareness. Small actions can help someone regain control.
Psychiatry and psychotherapy are important aspects of the PTSD treatment team. After you are diagnosed with PTSD or another trauma disorder, you can begin to receive the specialized care that your body and brain require. Psychiatry allows for a two-pronged treatment that addresses medication and therapy needs.
As time passes and with proper treatment, you may find that your sleep improves, and feelings of stress and anxiety
around the traumatic event begin to diminish. Other people in your life will also notice the benefit psychiatry will have on your daily life and self-esteem.
If you are worried about seeking mental health care from psychiatrists, you may find the idea of telepsychiatry
more appealing. Teletherapy is a form of psychotherapy that takes place on secure and encrypted video conference platforms which connect top-quality psychiatrists with patients across states.
Most people feel comfortable in their own homes and find it easier to speak to a doctor, therapist, or a licensed mental health professional virtually instead of in person. Telepsychiatry is suitable for individuals who can’t miss a day at work, as it can be easily scheduled online.
This type of psychiatric treatment is also more manageable for anyone who experiences chronic pain, depression, or anxiety.
PTSD experts and psychiatrists will understand the stress and anxiety suffered by most who have PTSD and, therefore, may be open to treatment by video. Get treatment for your PTSD with Dr. Ronald Lee, MD, a trusted psychiatric expert based out of Boston.
Let’s shed some light on the most common questions about PTSD.