What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop in people of all ages, civilian or military. The symptoms of PTSD occur in response to experiencing, or witnessing, a traumatic event. People suffering from symptoms of PTSD re-experience memories, and physiological reactions, that were not present before the event and the symptoms interfere with daily life. Each individuals’ experience of trauma is unique and although symptoms of PTSD are similar among individuals, each person experiences these symptoms in unique ways.
Symptoms of PTSD
- Feeling on edge, jumpy, or easily startled.
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Inability to experience pleasurable emotions beginning after the event, changes in an emotional state, decreased interest in things that a person used to enjoy.
- Changes in the ability to cope, how to think about oneself and how dangerous the world is after the event.
- External reminders of the situation such as objects, places, and conversations and avoiding them. Avoidance of stimuli and internally pushing away thoughts.
- Flashbacks and the feeling like the event are still occurring and they are not safe. Dissociation.
- Physiological reactions to smells, places, people, and objects reminders of the trauma.
- Dreams of the events that occurred and the involuntary memories.
If you’ve been exposed to a traumatic event PTSD symptom are signs that the trauma is unfinished business, and the individual is struggling to process what has happened to them.
If you find you, or a loved one, is not “moving on” or “getting over it” this could be a sign that you are experiencing PTSD. This means either your, or your loved ones’, brain has not been able to make sense of the traumatic event as it would other situations. When an individual experiences PTSD symptoms there are no set periods of time that the symptoms will persist for and because your brain does not know how to make sense of the experience the symptoms tend to get worse over time.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) helps individuals to emotionally, and cognitively, process the traumatic event in a safe environment allowing the individual to heal and move beyond the trauma. PE helps an individual to gradually approach situations and memories related to the trauma that are causing distress and problems in life. By approaching trauma related images and situations you process the memory and begin to heal. You will never forget what has happened to you but after the brain is able to process the experience there will be fewer triggers, and memories, and you can start living your life again.
Living a happy life after a traumatic experience is possible with the proper treatment and research proves that approximately 84% of people that do Prolonged Exposure Therapy will have no symptoms of PTSD at the end of therapy. Help is available. Contact us at 803-393-5420.