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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
"A person's mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions."
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) involves exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. It is important to realize that the "exposure" can be a first hand experience or it can be a vicarious experience such as witnessing a traumatic event or learning about one that occurred to a close friend or family member. PTSD can be experienced by anyone at any age. It can be the result of war, natural disasters, assault, abuse, life-threatening illnesses, accidents, or other situations involving the intense experience of overwhelming fear, powerlessness, or horror. The trauma overwhelms the individual's ability to cope and effectively process the physical and psychological threat experienced. In fact, such experiences often have long lasting effects because they can alter the way our brain and body work together in processing perceived and real threats in our day to day lives.
It is important to remember that PTSD does not affect everyone who is exposed to an overwhelming traumatic event. What is traumatic to one individual may not be traumatic to another individual. The experience of PTSD is dependent on a variety of factors, including an individual's early childhood environment and experiences, physiology, genetics, the frequency and duration of exposure, the nature of the event(s), and more.
PTSD presents a spectrum of challenges that are unique to the individual. The common symptoms listed below can interfere with relationships, work, home environments, self-esteem, and activities of normal daily functioning.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 1 in 30 adults in the U.S. suffer from PTSD in a given year (excluding war veterans). The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates 10% of women and 5% of men will encounter experiences causing PTSD symptoms in their lifetimes. The incidence of PTSD in our veterans exposed to war is much higher.
The symptoms of PTSD occur on a spectrum of severity and persistence. In order to reach the diagnosis of PTSD in adults, one symptom from each of these four clusters must be met:
PTSD has been successfully treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT encompasses traditional psychotherapy, elements of psycho-education, exposure therapy, cognitive processing and restructuring, mindfulness techniques, and coping skills training for managing stress and anxiety. CBT may also be supported by such treatments as EMDR (Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing) which has been found helpful to many individuals. Please keep in mind, there are a variety of supportive treatments in PTSD recovery. The type of therapy employed will vary based on the specific needs of the individual and may or may not include medications.
We have provided a series of materials below that you may find helpful in seeking general information. For specific information about your situation, please seek the assistance of a licensed professional therapist who specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.
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