Mental Health Treatment
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a mental disability that occurs after a traumatic experience. These events could include war, death of a loved one, natural disasters, sexual assault, or an accident.
Three types of trauma can occur to an individual: simple trauma, chronic trauma, or complex trauma. Simple trauma is the result of a single event that has not re-occurred. Chronic trauma is repeated, and long-lasting, it is usually related to domestic abuse. Complex trauma is when an individual is exposed to various traumatic events that are typically intrusive and personal.
People with PTSD are not always aware of how severe their problem is. It is human nature to want to avoid painful memories or events. However, long term avoidance can lead to emotional and physical issues.
By continually trying to ignore or run away from the traumatic memory, the person is keeping the emotional distress alive and relevant. Without treatment and working through the trauma, it is more likely that it will develop into post-traumatic stress disorder. This could cause continual pain and emotional stress, possibly lasting for years.
Symptoms of PTSD
Experiencing symptoms of PTSD can happen directly after the traumatic event or months later. Symptoms can differ, but the most common ones are:
- Uncontrollable thoughts or memories
- Loss of concentration
- Easy to startle
- Emotional numbing
- Lack of trust
- Suicidal thoughts
The Impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
How Long Does it Last?
It varies how long symptoms could affect someone with post-traumatic stress. However, symptoms of PTSD must last at least a month to be considered indicators of the disorder.
There is no set timeline for how long the disorder will last. For some, they recover after six months of treatment; for others, it could be longer. Some never recover fully from PTSD but have found ways to cope so they can live a healthier and emotionally stable lifestyle.
Who Experiences It?
Anyone, no matter the age, who has been affected by a traumatic event, can experience PTSD. This could mean that the trauma happened directly to a person or indirectly. Indirect trauma happens when a person has heard or witnessed the event.
Many people associate PTSD with soldiers or someone who has experienced a violent attack. However, it is not always caused by violence; there are people who experience symptoms due to emotional trauma. For example, someone could be showing signs of post-traumatic distress after the unexpected death of a family member or friend.
A person must be diagnosed by a mental health professional and experience one or more of the symptoms for at least a month. A diagnosis of PTSD is considered if there is a re-experiencing of symptoms or avoidance of one or more symptoms.
Physiological and Psychological Effects
It is often assumed that PTSD only affects the mind; this is not true. Post-traumatic stress can cause severe reactions to the body. It produces high blood pressure and an increase in heart rate; studies have shown that people who have PTSD are more likely to die from coronary heart disease.
The psychological effects concerning PTSD can be severe. Anxiety and panic attacks can develop as well as paranoia in some cases. Depression disorders will often occur from PTSD; there is also the probability of increased isolation from the rest of the world.
Risks of PTSD
There are many risk factors for post-traumatic stress. In some cases, the risks are life-threatening. Many people who are suffering from this mental illness have thoughts of suicide. It is estimated that in the United States alone, 40,000 people commit suicide due to post-traumatic stress yearly. Studies regarding veterans show that the rate of veteran and active military suicide, prompted by PTSD, is 5% higher than the civilian population.
Co-Occurring & Dual Diagnosis
Unfortunately, it can be common for people with post-traumatic stress disorder to develop issues with drugs or alcohol as they try to escape their symptoms. Veterans are especially vulnerable to substance abuse issues in connection with their disorder and may struggle with a co-occurring disorder.
Those with a dual diagnosis of both PTSD and some form of addiction can receive the individual attention they need to recover at Dr. Paul’s By The Sea. We are available to help anyone suffering from symptoms of PTSD or a co-occurring disorder in the path toward recovery. Our trained staff can customize your treatment and ensure that you move on from past trauma to reach emotional stability.
Treatment At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea
Anyone that goes through a traumatic event will have a difficult time adjusting. Dr. Paul’s By The Sea offers different types of treatment to help anyone who is experiencing PTSD. At our treatment center, we offer patients a safe environment to deal with distressing and sometimes violent thoughts and feelings.
In treatment for PTSD, a patient needs time to heal and the chance to work through their trauma. At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea, we begin with simple actions to balance our patient’s breathing. This is done with exercises and a healthy routine with plenty of rest and nutritious food. While it may feel natural for a traumatized person to avoid talking or thinking about the event, they can only recover by remembering and working through the details of their emotions.
At our treatment center in St. Augustine, Fl, we use trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is one of the foundations of treating PTSD because it allows patients to gradually expose themselves to feelings, memories, or thoughts that are associated with the traumatic event.
It can be excruciating and upsetting for patients to revisit what they’ve been through, but it can also be cathartic and healing for them to talk about their experiences. Many patients may have repressed or blocked out their memories, but breathing exercises and other techniques can help them recover details of the event and release it from their subconscious.
While CBT is one of the most used therapies, others are also significant contributors to treating PTSD. One is EMDR, eye movement desensitization; this therapy is used to stimulate the brain with physical movement. PTSD causes the brain to get “stuck” on the traumatic memory; by using EMDR, it helps the brain to move past the memory. Our therapists will use EMDR in conjunction with CBT, which will increase the value of our patient’s treatment.
While at Dr. Paul’s By The Sea, patients who have PTSD can benefit from family involvement so that the people closest to them understand their disorder and know how to handle it. Repairing relationships with those closest to them can help people with this disorder to heal and recover. Through individual or family therapy, a patient can learn to face their memories and the feelings associated with them, which can work effectively to ease some of their anxiety.
Instead of being frightened by memories of the event, they can learn to accept what has happened to them and feel more at peace after treatment. While attending therapy at our treatment centers, patients can transform their experiences into a more positive outcome for themselves.
Recovery from PTSD
While it may seem impossible, recovery from PTSD is attainable. By working through the trauma and attending therapy sessions, those with post-traumatic stress can begin to rebuild a healthy and fulfilled life. With guidance, patients will learn how exercise and movement can release endorphins in the brain, which will improve emotions and release feelings of depression. Focusing on the movement of the body can destress the mind and force the brain to “unfreeze” itself.
At Dr. Paul’s By The Sea in St. Augustine, all those seeking treatment will get the full support of our staff and medical experts. Our patients will be surrounded by a community that understands what they are going through. With this type of encouragement, people with post-traumatic stress will be able to see a life beyond their current pain and begin the journey towards recovery.
Call Dr. Paul’s By The Sea today and speak to one of our staff about getting the help you need. It’s time to begin living the life you deserve, and we’ll be there for you every step of the way.