What Is PTSD?
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may arise after an individual experiences one or more traumatic events. These experiences can include war and combat, violent crimes, significant accidents, and much more. PTSD is commonly associated with violent conflict-- hence the term shell shock -- but the disorder is far more common than most people realize. Indeed, anybody who has suffered a traumatic incident can potentially develop PTSD.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
- Memory lapses
- Negative thought patterns
- Disturbing memories
What Are the Five Types of PTSD?
In general, psychiatrists and psychologists operate under the idea that there are five categories of PTSD and borderline-PTSD mental health concerns.
Normal Stress Response
This refers to individuals who have experienced a traumatic event and had a significant emotional response but did not evolve into full-blown PTSD. For example, somebody may suffer an accident that causes psychological aftershocks that are considered to be a normal reaction to the traumatic event. Group therapy can treat normal stress response as well as quality time with friends and family, and in some cases, one-on-onecounseling sessions with a qualified counselor.
This refers to PTSD, which's the result of a single traumatic experience. Flashbacks and nightmares are common in cases of uncomplicated PTSD, as are mood changes and a desire to avoid reminders of the traumatic incident.
This refers to PTSD, which's the result of multiple traumatic incidents. Cases of complex PTSD are common among war veterans, victims of abuse, and other individuals who are frequently in terrifying situations. In addition to sharing the same symptoms as uncomplicated PTSD, complex PTSD can include impulsivity, erratic behavior, aggression, and substance abuse. Treatment tends to be more intensive than in cases of uncomplicated PTSD or normal stress response.
Acute Stress Disorder
This refers to PTSD, which's the result of experiencing or being exposed to a life-threatening event. Examples of such an event include the death of a loved one and natural disasters. The loss of employment could qualify as well because it could threaten one's livelihood.
This refers to PTSD resulting from a combination of PTSD combined with one or more additional health concerns. Comorbidity is associated with substance abuse as a form of self-medication or self-destruction and often calls for an intensive treatment program. Both the comminglingmental health condition and the comorbid PTSD are treated simultaneously.
What Are the Risk Factors for PTSD?
PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of adults in the US each year. Interestingly, women are more than twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with PTSD, a discrepancy partly caused by societal factors such as women's higher likelihood of experiencing sexual assault and domestic violence.
Ultimately, anybody who experiences trauma is susceptible to PTSD. That means everybody is at some risk. A terrifying experience may or may not evolve into full-blown PTSD, but mere exposure to such an event is the only ingredient needed to put an individual at risk.
Treatment for PTSD?
There is more than one way to treat PTSD. That said,Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most mainstream, evidence-based approach. CBT typically involves a combination of exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring.
Exposure therapy is a process in which the individual suffering from PTSD is repeatedly exposed to environments that trigger their symptoms. Over time, repeated exposure therapy can significantly mitigate or even eliminate many symptoms associated with PTSD and related disorders. An individual becomes accustomed and more comfortable with the feelings. By rationalizing during and after exposures, people realize that their fears are far worse than the reality of the situations that trigger them.
Cognitive restructuring is an intervention that seeks to help people think about bad memories differently and less negatively. It often, but not always, encourages rationalization as a way to prevent catastrophizing. There are several tactics that therapists use to help people understand how to frame their thoughts and experiences in a more realistic and positive light. This ultimately relieves the shame, guilt, and fear associated with disturbing thought patterns that can come with PTSD.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and brainspotting are more modern techniques that can mitigate or eliminate the emotional responses associated with trauma. EMDR is a newer, less traditional form of psychotherapy growing in popularity, particularly for treating PTSD. An EMDR session, which lasts around 90 minutes, involves a therapist manipulating a patient's eyes with hand movements -- their line of sight and direction of their gaze -- while they recount the trauma. During the process, the therapist will provide verbal instructions that help the individual think about their trauma in a different and more positive light. Some therapists also use clapping, toe-tapping or musical tones.
Brainspotting is premised upon the belief that the direction in which people gaze their eyes can affect how they feel. So, therapists help people position their eyes in ways that help them target the roots of negative emotions. Using a pointer, therapists examine one's eyes to find brainspots, which are eye positions that trigger terrifying emotions. The technique allows therapists to target, unblock and balance the physical effects of trauma that can be found through one's eyes.
How Can BCB Therapy Help Treat PTSD?
Contact BCB Therapy, where we havea team of caring and experienced therapists here to help if you're struggling with PTSD or related health concerns such as panic disorder,generalized anxiety disorder, ordepression.
Nobody should suffer from PTSD in isolation.
Reach out to us today to make an appointment with one of our counselors for an in-person visit inBend, Oregon, ora virtual appointment (teletherapy) for your convenience.