Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
San Jose Counseling and Psychotherapy
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can occur after a person has seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.
PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
Families of victims can also develop PTSD, as can emergency personnel and rescue workers. The usual course of treatment is anxiety therapy often with medication.
Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common; and for most people, they go away over time.
For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event occurred.
Signs and Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms of PTSD most often begin within three months of the event. In some cases, however, they do not begin until years later. The severity and duration of the illness vary.
Some people recover within six months, while others suffer much longer. Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into three main categories; reliving, avoiding, and increased arousal.
Reliving. People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
Avoiding. The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.
Increased arousal. These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea.
Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Treatment for PTSD involves psychotherapy (counseling), medicines, or both.
During psychotherapy and anxiety counseling, you talk with mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or therapists, in a calm and accepting setting.
They can help you manage your PTSD symptoms. They will also guide you as you work through your feelings about the trauma.
There are many types of psychotherapy and anxiety treatment. One type that is often used for PTSD is called desensitization. During therapy, you are encouraged to remember the traumatic event and express your feelings about it.
Over time, memories of the event become less frightening. During psychotherapy you may also learn ways to relax, especially when you start to have flashbacks.
Psychotherapy can include a number of different approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral and Psychodynamic. However, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma.
As a psychotherapist experienced in treating trauma, I will use EMDR in addition to other approaches in anxiety counseling depending on each person’s individual needs.