As experts in PTSD therapy, our licensed professionals at NorthStar Regional understand that mental health problems are difficult to face.
Psychiatry is a key component of our comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment.
RECOGNIZING AND TREATING POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: WHAT IS POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER?
NorthStar Regional offers PTSD therapy for people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a condition that often follows surviving a severe traumatic event such as a natural disaster, combat, rape, childhood neglect, airplane crash, hostage situation, car accident, assault, sudden death of a loved one, sexual or physical abuse, or kidnapping. The threat of these catastrophes or traumas is often enough to create symptoms that can be treated with PTSD therapy treatment.
This chronic disorder causes the re-experiencing of a traumatic situation through intrusive or distressing memories, thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks. The person may feel or act as if the event is actually occurring or have intense psychological or physiological reactions to cues of the event.
PTSD AND YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
For some people, a traumatic experience was the beginning of major mental health problems or a substance use disorder. If you had depression or an anxiety disorder before a trauma occurred, you may experience more emotional difficulties and recovery can take longer. Symptoms include a loss of interest in usual activities, an increased or exaggerated startle response, being emotionally numb, sleep disturbance, hyper-vigilance, and irritable, angry outbursts. These symptoms can impair general well-being and damage relationships.
PROGRESSION OF SYMPTOMS
In general, the longer a trauma lasts and the more distressing it is, the greater the likelihood of developing PTSD. Symptoms do not usually occur immediately following the trauma and are often delayed by days or weeks. Teens and children are more likely to develop symptoms than older adults. About one-quarter of heavy combat survivors, two-thirds of all former prisoners of war, and one-third of the first responders from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks developed PTSD. Some clients recover within a few months and report few or no symptoms, while other clients suffer years of frequent symptoms and functional impairment. In order to make a diagnosis and begin PTSD therapy, symptoms must be present for more than one month.
There are effective treatments for trauma and related stressor disorders including PTSD. The right PTSD therapy treatment plan depends on many factors, including the nature of the trauma and the PTSD symptoms experienced, how you respond to medication and other therapies, your current stress level, and your personal history. Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression,
flashbacks, nightmares and substance use need to be addressed simultaneously. By working with a healthcare professional, you can create the right PTSD therapy treatment plan.
TRAUMA-FOCUSED COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
In Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a therapist helps you examine and change the way you think and feel about trauma reactions and what is causing it. This type of therapy gradually exposes you to situations that trigger or remind you of the trauma, and then helps develop skills to change the way you respond to fear and anxiety as it arises. Cognitive therapy focuses on thoughts and how they relate to the anxiety you feel. A therapist will help you become aware of your thought patterns and change the way you think, replacing distorted thoughts about the trauma in order to reduce anxiety. Behavioral PTSD therapy helps you replace anxious responses with more positive behaviors and relaxation techniques.
EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a type of PTSD therapy that uses elements of CBT with rhythmic, left-right stimulation using eye movements, hand tapping, or sounds to help the brain get unstuck. Conducted by a trained therapist, EMDR therapy reduces emotional distress, decreases reactivity, helps reformulate thoughts and beliefs, and reduces physiological arousal. This type of therapy has been well-researched over the last 25 years and studies indicate over 85 percent of single-trauma victims no longer have PTSD symptoms after only three 90-minute EMDR sessions.
MAINTAINING EMOTIONAL HEALTH
PTSD can be triggered or made worse by stress. It is extremely helpful to learn specific ways to identify and manage stress better. This may mean reducing perfectionistic standards, limiting how hard you work, and being careful about taking care of others. Learn some of the emotional and physical warning signs you develop under stress. Watch for physical symptoms such as headaches, having a clenched jaw, experiencing sleep disturbances, or muscle strain in your upper back, neck, and shoulders. Use relaxation skills, meditation, and physical exercise to keep your body relaxed.
LEARNING TO BE SENSITIVE
Keep in mind that people who have endured trauma may continue to be adversely affected by it. They may be more sensitive and highly reactive. Physical restraints, isolation, and threats may be triggers for them. Bullying, angry tones, and forceful confrontations may be misperceived and cause an increase in PTSD symptoms. People with trauma in their background need security,
structure, and safety in their daily environment. Do not minimize, discredit, or ignore the concerns of those who have PTSD. Be aware of their traumatic experiences and resulting reactions. Then communicate respect, patience, and understanding.
Are you or a loved one experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder? Contact us today to learn more about our PTSD therapy options and how NorthStar Regional can help you.
Our experienced PTSDl therapy therapy staff will: