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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after exposure to a life-threatening incident. Related symptoms may include nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, and severe anxiety. 

Experiencing difficulty coping after being subject to a traumatic event is a normal reaction. With proper care, most people can recover over time. 

In most cases, the symptoms of PTSD appear shortly after the event and disappear naturally in just a few weeks. However, some people may continue to experience them for months or even years. 

PTSD was originally associated with trauma in soldiers; however, PTSD can impact people of all ages, ethnicity, nationalities, and cultures. 

About 6 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives, with 12 million adults in the United States experiencing PTSD each year. PTSD is also more commonly seen in women than men. 

PTSD Symptoms

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for recovering from PTSD symptoms. These are usually grouped into four types: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity.

Intrusion

  • Frequent and involuntary recurrence of distressing memories about the incident 
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Intense flashbacks that are so vivid it feels like the event is actually recurring in front of you

Avoidance

  • Avoidance of places, activities, or people related to the trauma. For example, the affected person would abstain from driving if the experience was related to a car crash. 
  • Avoidance of thoughts regarding the incident
  • Avoidance of talking about what happened or how it made them feel

Negative alterations in cognition and mood

  • Memory loss about the incident 
  • Distortion about the cause of the incident
  • Constant self-blaming
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Ongoing feelings of fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Detachment or estrangement from others
  • Inability to experience positive emotions

Alterations in arousal and reactivity

  • Irritability combined with angry outbursts
  • Feeling abnormally suspicious about places or people
  • Problems with concentration and trouble sleeping
  • Behaving in reckless or self-destructive ways
  • Being easily startled

Most people who experience something traumatic will experience symptoms like those listed above in the days following the event. 

What makes these symptoms different for someone with PTSD is that these symptoms don’t last for days; instead, they last for a month or more. These symptoms continue, resulting in distress and interfering with one’s ability to function normally in day-to-day life. 

Also, PTSD symptoms may not appear directly after a traumatic event. They may appear a few months after the traumatic event. 

Causes of PTSD

People with PTSD have often been directly or indirectly involved in events that put their lives or well-being at risk, even if there was no physical harm. Unexpected events can also trigger this condition. 

The following are some of the most common situations that patients with PTSD might have gone through

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional violence
  • Being a victim or witness of a crime
  • War or terrorist attacks
  • Illness or death of a loved one
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes or fires
  • Serious accidents

Who Can Develop PTSD

Both men and women can develop PTSD, and it can occur in both children and adults. According to the National Center for PTSD, nearly 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD throughout the year, and 8 out of 100 women and 4 out of 100 men will experience it, with women being twice as likely to do so. 

If not treated, people with persistent PTSD are likely to develop other disorders, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and sleep problems.

When to Find Professional Care for PTSD

If your support system is not enough and your PTSD symptoms are starting to interfere with your daily life, it is essential to approach a mental health professional with experience. 

At Axis Integrated Mental Health, we know that everybody has or will go through events that might make us feel helpless and vulnerable. Our team will accompany you on the road to recovery.

Diagnosis of PTSD

To provide you with an accurate diagnosis, we mainly rely on two things:

  • Physical exam: We locate any physical problem that may be contributing to the symptoms.
  • Psychological Evaluation: We analyze the signs, symptoms, and events that may have triggered your symptoms. 

PTSD is most often diagnosed by a mental health provider, such as Axis Integrated Mental Health. 

Treatment of PTSD

For some people, symptoms of PTSD will gradually disappear over time. For other people, their support system can help them with their PTSD. Many people, though, need professional assistance to deal with PTSD.

Talk Therapy

When dealing with a traumatic event, it helps to be able to talk with someone about what you experienced. This can be achieved through psychotherapy, more commonly referred to as talk therapy

The most common types of talk therapy used to treat PTSD includes cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and group therapy.

Medication

Medication can be important in helping to control the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants are commonly used on their own or in combination with psychotherapy and other treatment options. 

Other medications, such as those used to help with sleep problems, may also be used to help with PTSD. 

Ketamine

Ketamine can be an off-label treatment for PTSD. Ketamine infusions can help you process difficult experiences and can allow for the development of new connections in your brain, both of which can help with treating PTSD. 

TMS

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive neuromodulatory intervention for a variety of psychiatric disorders, including PTSD. Several studies have shown that TMS can help PTSD and maintain results over time. 

Axis Integrated Mental Health can help you explore the best treatment option for your PTSD by taking a holistic look at your life and needs. 

Experience Relief from Your PTSD in Denver, CO Today

If you are suffering from anxiety that is impacting your life, it is time to get help. At Axis Integrated Mental Health, we can help you explore various options for treating your PTSD. 

Contact Axis Integrated Mental Health at (720) 400-7025 or fill out our contact us form to get the help you need today in Denver, Colorado, to treat your PTSD.

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