Most people who think of PTSD think of soldiers returning home, fighting the demons of combat. Of course, that’s true. PTSD occurs when an event overcomes the brain’s ability to cope. The National Institute of Mental Health explains that PTSD occurs among those who have experienced shocking or scary events and have trouble recovering from the trauma. PTSD is experienced by children and the elderly, men and women, with varying symptoms. You may be surprised to learn the following facts:
Some people will experience symptoms right after an event occurs. But the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that symptoms can be delayed for months and even years. In order for PTSD to be diagnosed, symptoms must be present for at least one month (sleeplessness, jumpiness, nightmares, emotional numbness, difficulty concentrating, etc.). People who take longer to develop symptoms may have difficulty recognizing their struggles as PTSD. Everyone’s brain is different.
A review by the American Psychological Association concluded sexual trauma against females, especially childhood sexual trauma, may cause more post-traumatic stress than any other type of trauma, including physical violence and war. Men are more likely to develop substance abuse problems or violent behaviors in response to their trauma.
Trauma rewires the brain and re-routes perception and reasoning. It changes the way people see the world and respond to it. Educate yourself about PTSD treatment. Conventional counseling is not the same as PTSD treatment.
It’s important seek out a qualified mental health specialist, just as you would a cardiologist or hematologist. Find a therapist who specializes in treating PTSD. While some therapists may have experience in multiple areas, patients feel the most understood when they find someone who understands PTSD and can create a successful treatment plan. If you’ve been diagnosed, ask your therapist how many clients they’ve treated with your issue, and if you have any doubts, consider looking elsewhere.
People often expect PTSD to manifest in rages, confrontation, and anxiety attacks. But sometimes PTSD symptoms don’t appear for years. And while some people’s symptoms may be obvious, others’ may be subtle. For instance, dissociation–a symptom of PTSD–is often mistakenly thought to be multiple personality disorder. The truth is that dissociation often looks like zoning out, staring into space, mood swings, or lack of focus.
PTSD can also look like depression. Or a person can not want to talk about the event that traumatized the person (avoidance). For some people, it looks like isolation from friends and the world in general.
Multiple forms of treatment are available for PTSD. Intensive Trauma Therapy in Morgantown, West Virginia, offers a 5-10 day one-on-one intensive program. This therapy approach focuses on “rewiring” the brain by reconnecting the circuits interrupted by trauma. Intensive Trauma Therapy’s uses the Instinctual Trauma Model of therapy that focuses on re-integration of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Other forms of therapy include individual psychotherapy (typically once a week for an hour), using one of the following forms of therapy:
Our next post will continue with other aspects of PTSD that may be unfamiliar to you.