Everybody goes through events that are scary or stressful. People may need time to process and cope with traumatic events. Still, in many situations, the negative emotions they experience begin to subside over time with patience, self-care, and support. Unfortunately, coping with trauma is not always an easy process. Call 724.374.7414 to speak with someone from New Directions Mental Health’s caring and compassionate staff about our other mental health disorders treatment and PTSD treatment program in Pennsylvania.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects people who have experienced or witnessed a frightening, dangerous, or otherwise traumatic event. For people struggling with PTSD, the fear and stress caused by a traumatic event can last weeks, months, or even years and interfere with their ability to go about their daily life. In cases like this, treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder can be life-changing.
Signs and Symptoms of PTSD
People struggling with PTSD can have a variety of symptoms. Mental health professionals categorize the symptoms of PTSD into four distinct types:
- Re-experiencing symptoms – This includes flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and other symptoms that bring the person back to the traumatic event they went through.
- Avoidance symptoms – This means actively trying to avoid places, things, and events associated with the trauma. People with PTSD might also try to avoid thinking about or feeling the emotions associated with their traumatic experience.
- Arousal and reactivity symptoms – This includes any symptom that indicates a person is experiencing ongoing fear, such as being easily startled, feeling on edge, dealing with sleep disturbances, and more.
- Cognition and mood symptoms – These are symptoms that indicate a strong emotional response to the trauma. Symptoms can include memory trouble, loss of interest or joy, feeling guilt or shame, and developing increasingly negative feelings about themselves or the world.
To be considered for a diagnosis of PTSD, a person must be experiencing one or two of each type of symptoms for one month or more.
Who Can Develop PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is often associated with veterans who have seen combat, but PTSD can affect any man, woman, or child who experiences a traumatic event. There are several risk factors that contribute to the likelihood a person will develop PTSD after going through trauma:
- Experiencing trauma in childhood
- Feeling horror, helplessness, or intense fear during a traumatic event
- Experiencing a traumatic event that lasts a long time, such as combat or an abusive relationship
- Having a personal or family history of mental illness or substance abuse
- Lack of support after the traumatic event
- Additional stressors surrounding the traumatic event, such as losing a loved one or experiencing poverty or homelessness
Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, but anyone who experiences trauma can develop PTSD. Women are more likely to struggle with PTSD as a result of sexual violence, such as sexual assault or child sexual violence. Men are more likely to struggle with PTSD as a result of accidents, physical assault, combat, or witnessing violent death or injury.
How Does PTSD Treatment Work?
Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder may include the following:
- Medication – Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicine may be prescribed to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
- Therapy – Different types of therapy can be effective in relieving post-traumatic stress. These might include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, prolonged exposure, narrative exposure, group therapy, and more.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy – This is an FDA-approved depression treatment that may help relieve depression and anxiety experienced by people with PTSD. TMS therapy is a non-invasive, non-drug treatment that involves placing a small magnetic coil against the head to stimulate certain areas of the brain, which promotes healing.
Trauma is complex, and every person responds to it differently. Thankfully, there are a number of treatment options that can be helpful in alleviating PTSD symptoms.
Find PTSD Treatment in Pennsylvania at New Directions Mental Health
If you believe that you or a loved one is experiencing PTSD, contact New Directions Mental Health today at 724.374.7414 to learn what our caring and compassionate care providers and our PTSD treatment program in Pennsylvania can do for you.