Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) Treatment Center in Southlake
PTSD disorders (“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”) is a condition of the brain which can affect people who have been involved in a shocking, scary, dangerous, or other traumatizing event. This disorder can affect a person’s ability to cope with stress in daily life; the symptoms are severe, and can affect how a person thinks, feels, and handles their daily activities. While everyone who goes through a traumatic experience will encounter PTSD symptoms (this is called “acute PTSD”), some individuals find that their symptoms do not lessen or abate over time. This is what is termed “chronic PTSD,” and is the condition that is portrayed in the media time and time again.
What are some common signs and symptoms of PTSD Disorders?
The symptoms of PTSD stem from natural, biological, physiological, and behavioral processes and patterns that occur for every individual, including neuro-typical persons without this disorder. When humans encounter a dangerous or potentially-dangerous situation, the body undergoes a physical response. Professionals have termed this the “fight-or-flight response.” This reaction serves a purpose, and in most cases, the effects of this process abate when the danger has passed and is no longer a threat. However, some “dangers” leave permanent mental markers that continue to instigate the “fight-or-flight response” long after the situation or event has ended. This is what makes PTSD so difficult to treat. A person with PTSD will experience symptoms that are more severe and occur more frequently, even in situations where they are not actually in danger. These symptoms can also interfere with and reduce the quality of the person’s functions socially, at school, or in their career. PTSD symptoms must be present for at least one month after the trauma, and must include:
- At least one (1) re-experiencing symptom – This can include flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts. Flashbacks are one of the hallmark symptoms of PTSD and can include physical symptoms like a racing heart and sweating. Words, objects, or situations that remind the person of their trauma can trigger these re-experiencing symptoms, even in the middle of the day or during a social event.
- At least one (1) avoidance symptom – Staying away from places, events, and objects that remind the person of their trauma is a classic avoidance symptom. Avoiding thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event is also a manifestation of avoidance. These symptoms may cause a person to change their routine or schedule, even if they do not consciously acknowledge that as their reason for doing so.
- At least two (2) arousal and reactivity symptoms – Actions and behaviors such as being startled easily, feeling “on-edge,” difficulty sleeping, and angry outbursts are all arousal and reactivity symptoms. The presence of any two of these can show a doctor that PTSD may be occurring; these symptoms are usually constant in nature, rather than being triggered by reminders of the trauma. The individual experiencing these symptoms can feel stressed and angry and may have trouble completing daily tasks like eating, concentrating on work, and especially sleeping.
- At least two (2) cognition and mood symptoms – These symptoms can include trouble remembering key features of the trauma; negative thoughts about oneself or the world at large; distorted feelings like guilt or blame; and the loss of interest in previously-enjoyable activities. These symptoms can begin after the traumatic event, or even worse, but are not due to injury or substance use. These symptoms can make the person feel alienated, or even detached from their family and friends. In some cases, this may make it harder for the person to feel a need to seek treatment.
Children under 6 years of age may show entirely different symptoms than an older child or adult with PTSD. Some symptoms presented by young children after a trauma can include:
- Bed-wetting after already successfully completing potty-training
- Being unable, unwilling, or forgetting how to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime, with others or with dolls/toys
- Being unusually clingy to a parent, other adults, or older child.
Treatment for children with PTSD or similar disorders is essential for the child’s development, and should only be undertaken by a licensed pediatric mental health professional; preferably, this professional will have had experience treating children exposed to traumas. Children and adults do not react the same to traumas, or the treatment of their reactions to traumas.
Older children and teenagers present symptoms very similar to those of an adult and are often treated in a similar manner to adults.
Psychiatrists Specializing in PTSD
First and foremost, you should know what a psychiatrist is and what they specialize in. People often confuse psychologists with psychiatrists. A psychiatrist is an individual with an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) who chose to specialize in the treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists have spent time in medical school, and their schooling allows them to focus on your wellness and procedures that work wonders for PTSD.
The symptoms of PTSD typically stem from trauma of some type. For many, a violent act that instigates their “fight-or-flight” response is enough to trigger PTSD. The aggravated reaction never ceases for these people. Treatment from a registered, caring psychiatrist who specializes in PTSD is the best method to treat the mental illness. Our experts will better diagnose and treat your symptoms, leading to a healthier lifestyle. We vow to work with you one-on-one to ensure you feel fulfilled through treatment. Of course, if you have any concerns, your psychiatrist will work through them with you directly!
Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Most of us have heard of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). It’s a condition in which an individual exposed to an intense situation beyond their control suffers from extreme anxiety and trauma. PTSD may occur after a single event. From there, it is a downhill slope. The condition continues to evolve, worsening over time without any medical attention.
More recently, experts have delved into the emotional suffering of those with PTSD. New treatments are on the horizon, allowing us to focus on better treatment for patients. To provide treatment, we must first examine the symptoms of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, which include:
- Rage through violence, theft, or destruction
- Low self-esteem
- Selective memory
- Loss of faith
- Shame, guilty, a focus on revenge
- Flashbacks, dissociation, memory repression
Victims may also experience physical symptoms, which include chronic pain, eating disorders, migraines, and cardiovascular problems. It is crucial to see a doctor if any of the above-mentioned symptoms present themselves.
How is it determined that someone has PTSD?
An official diagnosis of PTSD, or any other mental health condition, can only occur after a comprehensive evaluation; this evaluation must be performed by a licensed clinician. A pediatrician, physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist with expertise in diagnosing and treating PTSD is preferred. Generally, the symptoms the person has been experiencing must be reported as
- Severely impairing the individual’s functioning
Many persons with PTSD are diagnosed weeks or months after their trauma. While the symptoms can often be seen by untrained laypeople as “feeling stressed-out,” only a professional with experience diagnosing and treating PTSD can find the defining factors that make the difference. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be showing symptoms of a PTSD disorder, contact a certified mental health professional today; it is important to refrain from self-diagnosis as much as possible, as the nuances of diagnosis are often very subtle and require careful attention to detail.
How is PTSD being handled and treated in today’s society?
While there is currently no cure available for PTSD, there are treatments available to help reduce the impact of symptoms in everyday life and improve a person’s functioning. One of the most-prescribed options is psychotherapy, which involves visiting with and speaking to a therapist to modify behaviors and learn to cope with symptoms of PTSD in everyday life; this therapy is used either with or without the option of medication-based therapies. For more information on some of the common psychotherapy options available today, view the National Institute of Mental Health’s information page.
Another great option for individuals with PTSD disorders is any of a variety of medication-based treatments. Sometimes, PTSD disorders are treated with modified forms of treatments for other mental health disorders. Antidepressants are sometimes used to treat PTSD disorders under medical supervision. For a more detailed discussion on common mental health medication-based treatments, view the National Institute of Mental Health’s Medications page.
While there is not a single pathway for individuals with PTSD to take to better their lives and improve their functioning, there are options available. Mental health disorders like PTSD are highly individualized; everyone is different, and it may take some trial and error before the best treatment plan for a person with PTSD is found. With the help of doctors and therapists, individuals with PTSD are able to live full lives and find their place in a modern world.
For more information on PTSD symptoms and general treatment options, view the National Institute of Mental Health’s website. If you or a loved one needs more targeted mental health treatment, contact Prime Behavioral Health today for a consultation.