Post-traumatic stress disorder or “PTSD” is a complex mental health issue. It is caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or violent event. Events ranging from natural disasters, car accidents, assaults, and combat can cause PTSD. Veterans and first responders are at risk because of the number and severity of traumatic exposures they face. It is even possible to develop symptoms from hearing about the violent experience suffered by a loved one. People fail to realize that secondary exposure to trauma is often just as disturbing to the mind and body as first-hand experience. Not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD. It is mitigated by a number of variables including social support, healthy attachment, coping skills, and more.
PTSD can cause intense disturbing thoughts and feelings long after the traumatic event has ended. The trauma may be relieved through nightmares, flashbacks, and persistent ruminating thoughts. Trauma is difficult to recover from without help because each time it is recalled, the body experiences a stress response. This means that physical sensations in the body such as sweating, racing heart rate, changes in visual or auditory perceptions, are triggered each time the person is reminded of the event. This is called “triggering.”
Four categories of PTSD symptoms
- Intrusive thoughts such as repetitive thoughts, dreams/ nightmares, and waking flashbacks of the event.
- The avoidance of reminders such as people, places and things that are associated with distressing memories or events. You may avoid talking about the event altogether and may isolate in an effort to forget.
- Negative thoughts or feelings and limiting beliefs about the event. This includes the belief that the world is dangerous, people can’t be trusted, or you are bad/responsible for what happened to you.
- Heightened arousal or reactivity include irritability, outbursts of anger, or other emotion that seems out of place, misperceived or mistimed. Behavior may be reckless, or self-destructive and often includes insomnia or difficulty concentrating.
It’s normal to be disoriented after a traumatic event, but if your symptoms persist, seek professional help. There are many treatment options. Whatever you choose should help you resolved the experience and feel more in control of your life again.
Treatments that include the mind and body are particularly helpful because trauma is experienced by all parts of you. Energy psychology such as HBLU, EFT, TAT, TFT, and EMDR work by allowing you to process the memory while also reducing the body’s stress response. This allows clients to heal and untangle the memory from the bodily sensations while also creating new meaning and understanding. Click here to learn more about the treatment options I offer. You can cover from PTSD