What is PTSD?

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or emotional, physical or sexual abuse. It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.

PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. Several factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.

Will people with PTSD get better?

“Getting better” means different things for different people. There are many different treatment options for PTSD. For many people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don’t have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.

EMDR Therapy can help with PTSD

EMDR therapy helps the mind heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy works the same way for emotional wounds. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures wit EMDR therapy can help clients activate their natural healing processes and heal from emotional trauma.

Through EDMR, patients will reprocess the traumatic event until it is no longer psychologically disruptive to their lives and emotions. Through 8 phases of treatment, all the emotions that go with the memory will be identified. The patient will process the trauma, then create a positive belief, via bilateral movement, to replace the negative belief.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

It’s normal for someone who witnesses or experiences something traumatic to be depressed or anxious for a period of time following the event. However, with time and support, people are able to process and accept the situation and begin to move forward.

Some people are unable to recover from a past trauma no matter how badly they want to. How can you tell the difference between someone who is shaken and scared and someone with PTSD? There are some definitive symptoms to look out for.

  • Frequent nightmares, flashbacks and unwanted memories that make the person relive the event in vivid detail
  • Heightened sensitivity to environmental or emotional triggers that can induce flashbacks or memories
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty remembering key details about the traumatic event
  • Feeling disconnected from other people & difficulty engaging with people including friends and family members
  • Difficulty or inability to express positive emotions

How is someone diagnosed with PTSD?

The symptoms listed above are a few of the different signs that mental health professionals look for when they’re screening someone for PTSD.

In order to be diagnosed, someone must have at least two or more symptoms from the list above and two or more symptoms of “arousal and reactivity.” Arousal and reactivity refers to a person’s level of anxiety, alertness, and responsiveness to their environment.

People with PTSD and other trauma-related disorders will experience upsets in normal arousal levels. A common sign of someone with PTSD is hypervigilance. When someone is hypervigilant, their mind and body are constantly on high alert, waiting for danger to strike. Living under such constant fear and anxiety results in a wide array of secondary symptoms including sleep loss, irritability, and aggression.

Getting Help

PTSD is treatable. Working with a trauma-focused therapist can help someone come to terms with the event and learn to process their memories and move on. They may never forget what happened, but it is possible to develop a healthier mindset and start living in the present again.

How can we help?

(651) 373-9440