Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe condition that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury or the threat of death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal (high levels of anxiety) continue for more than a month after the traumatic event. Typically the individual with PTSD persistently avoids all thoughts, emotions and discussion of the stressor event and may experience amnesia for it. However, the event is commonly relived by the individual through intrusive, recurrent recollections, flashbacks and nightmares.
Women, men, and children are all susceptible to developing PTSD. Women experience the greatest rate of PTSD due to domestic violence. Men are at risk for the disorder often due to combat exposure. However, the rate of PTSD in adults who were in foster care for one year as a teen is higher than that of combat veterans.
Alcohol and drug abuse commonly co-occur with PTSD. Recovery from PTSD may be hindered, or the condition worsened, by substance abuse; resolving these problems can bring about a marked improvement in an individual’s mental health status and anxiety levels.
Several forms of psychotherapy have been advocated for trauma-related problems such as PTSD. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven to be an effective treatment for PTSD and is currently considered the standard of care for PTSD. Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that involves assisting trauma survivors to re-experience distressing trauma-related memories and reminders in order to facilitate habituation and successful emotional processing of the trauma memory. Most exposure therapy programs include both imaginal confrontation with the traumatic memories and real-life exposure to trauma reminders; this therapy modality is well supported by clinical evidence.
Adult Survivors of Child Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Abuse: Developmental Trauma stems from early childhood emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. Early abuse can affect every area of our lives. The chart above lists seven areas of functioning that are negatively impacted by early abuse. If you were exposed to childhood abuse and you experience several or all of these symptoms, consider seeking counseling from a qualified mental health counselor. Treatment requires a strong investment, but you can regain your life in return. All of our providers are qualified to treat Developmental Trauma.
7 areas affected by early trauma and abuse: 1) Relationships, 2) Physical Health, 3) Emotional Health, 4) Awareness, 5) Behavioral Functioning, 6) Thinking Patterns, 7) Self-Image