Healing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Alexandria, VA—Therapists and Counselors
Sebastian was home from his military tour, and he was safe. He was riding the subway home from a friend’s house, and he loved being back in New York City. As the subway car filled up, Sebastian’s heart rate instinctively quickened. He began to sweat, and when his back was pushed up against a wall, he panicked. At the next stop, Sebastian ran out of the subway car and the rest of the way home. Over the next few months, Sebastian would panic whenever he was in crowded spaces. Even though he was home, the combat he saw overseas lingered in his mind and body. Sebastian Junger told his story to Vanity Fair because he wanted other people to recognize the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and find treatment—just like he did. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that can affect people who have lived through any kind of traumatic experience. Often, when people who have PTSD get the treatment they need, they are often able to heal and manage their symptoms.
“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
― Peter A. Levine
PTSD can develop immediately after a trauma, or it can take months or years to show itself. Whenever those symptoms occur, it is important to seek help because help is available. There are a number of effective treatments for PTSD, and often, experienced mental health professionals can help people find the treatment that meets their needs.
The therapists at Thriveworks Alexandria have helped many people who are battling PTSD. They have survived a traumatic event. They want to move on with their lives, and our therapists have helped them do just that.
How PTSD Can Develop
Not everyone who lives through a trauma will experience PTSD. Some people experience the illness while others will not. Several factors increase the risk of PTSD developing, including…
- Living through an on-going or acute trauma.
- An individual’s brain—how it regulates and releases stress hormones that allow them to react to danger.
- Family history: mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, genetics, et cetera.
- The trauma itself: its kind and intensity and duration.
- Other traumas experienced—particularly child abuse.
- Working a job that increases the chances that an individual will be exposed to trauma: first responders, ER doctors, military personnel, et cetera.
- Substance abuse or addiction.
- An anemic social-emotional support system—especially a lack of family or friends.
Many people associate PTSD with military veterans, but any kind of traumatic event can trigger PTSD. There is no limit to the types of events that can be traumatic, but a few include physical assault, being bullied, child abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual), living through an accident (fire, car wreck, and more), combat exposure, receiving a threat, sexual violence, being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
What Is PTSD? Its Signs and Symptoms
“Very minor threats can be experienced, by what the signals in your body tell you, as, ‘You’re in acute danger’”
—Sandra Bloom, former president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
PTSD has four types of symptoms:
Re-living the Trauma
PTSD can cause people to re-experience the event. At any moment, during any occasion, feelings can arise, images can flood, and adrenaline can pump. For example, PTSD often causes people to…
- Have nightmares and terrors that make them feel as if they are in the event.
- Experience intrusive memories and flashbacks during the day that feel real.
- Be triggered by certain sounds, sights, and/or smells that are associated with the traumatic event.
When people have PTSD, they may organize their lives so that anything and everything remotely associated with the trauma is avoided. When people do so, they often miss out on safe, beneficial events in life as well. For example, PTSD may lead people to…
- Stay away from any kind of a crowd.
- Never ride in a car or other kind of vehicle (particularly if the trauma involved that form of transportation).
- Keep away from the news, TV shows, movies, and more.
- Avoid any situation where they might feel trapped.
Detrimental Impact to Beliefs and Feelings
A traumatic event can change people’s feelings and beliefs—how they view the event, the world, and themselves. It is not unusual for PTSD to lead people to believe that…
- Everybody is untrustworthy, and no relationships are healthy.
- The event should not be spoken about or remembered.
- The world is never safe but always a harmful place.
One traumatic event can engage an individual’s self-defense system so that they are always alert. They may notice every possible harm that may or may not lurk behind every corner. Often, hyperarousal comes across as being nervous, angry, or irritable after the trauma. For example, people with PTSD may…
- Have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Be unable to concentrate.
- Startle or scare easily at surprises or loud noises.
- Frequently feel confined or trapped—always looking for an escape route.
Appointments for PTSD at Thriveworks Alexandria
If you recognized any of the symptoms of PTSD, it may be time to seek help. Thriveworks Alexandria can offer you that help—we have providers who specialize in treating PTSD, and are certified in cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for PTSD as well as prolonged exposure therapy (PE) for PTSD. And they’re eager to offer you their assistance.
When you contact our office, your first appointment may be within 24 hours. We also accept many different forms of insurance. Let’s work together for healing and safety. Call us today at (703) 828-9054 to schedule a session.