Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
You have probably heard of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the news regarding military veterans. It is similar to anxiety disorder, but is even worse, in an exaggerated sense. PTSD victims expend their energy merely coping and surviving as they endure lingering symptoms that include flashbacks and nightmares. Addictions are not uncommon as victims seek to heal their pain.
Get the picture? It’s not pretty.
Imagine life with your brain on high-alert at all times. This hyper-vigilance can seriously impact your quality of life. It can impair your mind’s ability to cope with even normal situations.
You are just not well. You may suffer from anger, depression, and anxiety. And sleep disorders are common.
PTSD can surface years after the triggering event.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a past event or series of events. These can include:
- sexual assault
- sudden death of loved ones
- accidents, or
- natural disasters.
The latest research from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says that even a witness to an event can become traumatized.
Not all victims of PTSD have served in the military.
First responders to fires, car wrecks, and terrorist bombings claim to suffer from it, as do direct victims of such tragedies. Police detectives have retired on disability after particularly gruesome murder investigations.
People who have been sexually abused often exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress. Statistics have shown that about half of all men and women who have been raped will develop the disorder.
Tragically, the numbers of known sufferers of PTSD have climbed in recent years.
There are many reasons:
- Years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have exposed numerous veterans to unspeakable horrors and loss.
- Some Vietnam-era vets are still being diagnosed with PTSD.
- There has been better reporting of sexual abuse and rape cases.
- We have a better understanding of how to recognize and diagnose the problem.
In addition to grieving for their lost buddies, wounded warriors can suffer from “survivor’s guilt,” a popular term once associated with airplane crashes. Again, victims of domestic or sexual abuse can experience a variation of this, especially when family members were involved.
There is hope for healing.
The hopeful part of this painful discussion is that the VA has taken the lead and invested heavily into research for methods to treat PTSD. (The VA treats more than a million veterans for PTSD and related conditions annually).
We in the mental health community benefit from this taxpayer-supported research. We use this cutting-edge knowledge to help us treat clients … even civilians who have never been on an airplane!
As I continually study the latest findings in treatment for people who suffer from PTSD, I am encouraged by new discoveries that can bring real comfort and healing to them.
PTSD Coach: There are Several Effective Treatments for PTSD.
As with all potential clients, I first meet with you and get to know you before proposing a course of treatment for your PTSD. There are several options, and I tailor my plan to be unique to you.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
With CBT, I help you understand your trauma and how it is affecting your ways of looking at things. You will learn how to cope with feelings of anger, fear, and guilt. This type of counseling appears to be the most effective for PTSD.
The focus here is on learning to control, and not fear, your memories. It also helps with the overwhelm of anxiety. There are a couple of different approaches to this, and once you feel safe with me, we can choose which approach is best.
The Counting Method
This is a simple yet effective technique for overcoming painful, intrusive memories where you may not need to talk about the specific events. As I count from 1 to 100, you would allow yourself the intensity of feelings to crest and subside, and then remind yourself of the fears that you have overcome.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
I am not currently practicing this type of therapy. It is a promising new approach to helping people change how they react to traumatic memories.
Certain anti-depressants have been shown to be effective in helping victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder reduce worry and sadness. Best results are achieved when prescribed medication is accompanied by skilled therapy.
Please Know That You Are Not Alone.
PTSD is a widespread problem in our society. Please realize that while you may feel lonely in your suffering, you are not alone. There is a treatment that can take you beyond merely coping and towards actually enjoying your life.
As a PTSD coach, I’d be honored to help you explore possibilities and start the PTSD healing process. Please call me at 404-259-1335 for a free 15-minute consultation. Or if you prefer, you may fill out the contact form on this website.