Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often linked to war veterans. However, this psychological condition is not exclusive to them. This mental illness can affect anyone who has encountered a severe stressor or has been through a traumatic experience.

An experienced trauma psychiatrist can employ several treatment methods to help people cope with PTSD and its debilitating symptoms.

Causes Of PTSD

The trigger of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a single terrifying event or a combination of many traumatic experiences. It could be:

  • Domestic violence
  • Childhood abuse
  • A car accident that caused a serious injury or one that killed a family member
  • Sexual assault or sexual violence
  • An incident where an anxiety or panic attack was aggravated by another event or a person
  • A diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety
  • A natural disaster
  • An abusive relationship

Signs And Symptoms Of PTSD

The combination of signs and symptoms of PTSD varies in each individual. The severity can also fluctuate over time.

What may induce a mild reaction one day may result in a severe reaction the next. This unpredictability has adverse effects on the daily life of people with PTSD. In general, the manifestations are:

  • Flashbacks of bad memories
  • Frequent nightmares of the traumatic event
  • Memory loss of the traumatic event
  • Emotional apathy
  • Being easily startled
  • Having an "exaggerated" response to related events
  • Avoidance of people or situations that relate to the event
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • A fast and pounding heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Substance abuse
  • Severe anxiety or depression

How To Diagnose PTSD

There are no specific diagnostic tests for PTSD. A mental health expert like a trauma psychiatrist is the best person to consult for a proper evaluation of the following:

  • The traumatic event that caused PTSD
  • The person's initial response
  • Signs and symptoms that eventually developed
  • How long the person has been experiencing the signs and symptoms of PTSD
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Support network

PTSD Treatment Options

Experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder signals the need for mental help, especially if they disrupt daily living activities. Most importantly, it is time to seek professional help when your thoughts and emotional responses, e.g., bouts of anger and thoughts of self-harm, become hard to control.

Your therapist will prescribe a treatment plan for you that may include one or a combination of the following:

Talk Therapy Or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This approach helps you recall the traumatic experience and express the emotions associated with it. Reliving the event may seem frightening, but a guided revisit with a mental health professional may help through desensitization.

As a result, you feel less "traumatized," and you experience less of the signs and symptoms. CBT can also help in identifying healthy coping techniques for triggers.

Pharmacologic Approach

Your doctor can prescribe anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, or sleeping pills to help you cope with PTSD symptoms. Note that you should only take what is prescribed, in the dose, amount, and route prescribed.

Self-medication can create imbalances in your hormones. Some drugs negatively interact with others and with alcohol, leading to a fatal outcome.

Support Group

Like CBT, a support group provides a safe, comfortable atmosphere that allows you to revisit a past traumatic experience. You'll be among individuals who are also facing the ramifications of traumatic events, making the condition appear more manageable.

Connect With a Licensed Trauma Psychiatrist

Therapy and medication are proven and effective techniques that help people with PTSD cope with their symptoms.

A licensed and trained mental health provider can assist you through the healing process. Allow our team at Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health to assist you in your journey towards recovery. Give us a call today to book an appointment!

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