Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

After all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.

― Arthur Golden

WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER?  It is natural to feel afraid during and after either experiencing or witnessing a scary, shocking, or dangerous event.  While nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, most people recover from initial symptoms naturally.  A person who continues to experience problems may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).  People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD.  Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward.

PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.  While specific symptoms can vary, they include:

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Being easily startled
  • Having angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame

Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults. In very young children, these symptoms can include:

  • Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
  • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult
  • Acting out the scary event during playtime
  • Forgetting how to or being unable to talk

In addition to symptoms seen in adults, older children may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors.  Older children and teens may also have thoughts of revenge or feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths.

Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function.

CAN THERAPY HELP?   The main treatments for people with PTSD are medications, psychotherapy, or both.  Talk therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but it can last longer.

Many types of psychotherapy can help people with PTSD.  Some types target the symptoms of PTSD directly. Other therapies focus on social, family, or job-related problems.  Effective psychotherapies tend to emphasize a few key components, including education about symptoms, teaching skills to help identify the triggers of symptoms, and skills to manage the symptoms.  Through talk therapy, clients can learn helpful ways to react to the frightening events that trigger their PTSD symptoms.

WHY SHOREPOINTE?  With Shorepointe’s nearly 40 years of combined experience in the mental health and social work professions, we have the know-how and ability to provide our clients with the knowledge and skills to manage their PTSD symptoms.  Adding to this our first class responsiveness and flexible hours to accommodate the most demanding of clients, and our direct but warm and assuring approach, makes Shorepointe an ideal step in your road to addressing PTSD.