Sebastian, backed against a metal door in a crowded New York City subway car, felt his heart begin to race. As feelings of fear intensified he did what anyone would do in danger: at the next stop, he rushed from the train and ran home. Sebastian was not in danger, however. He was dealing with a panic attack and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sebastian had served in the US military and saw combat. When he returned to the safety of his home, Sebastian was still struggling. Sebastian Junger told his story to Vanity Fair because he wanted others to know that it is okay to reach out for help. PTSD is a difficult mental health disorder, but it has treatments. Sebastian reached out for help. He worked with a therapist and received treatment for his PTSD.
“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
― Peter A. Levine
For some people, PTSD develops soon after a trauma. For others, it does not start for months or years after the danger and trauma have passed. Whenever or however it shows itself, it is important for those who suffer to know that it is okay to speak openly about what they have experienced. It is possible to resolve the difficult symptoms of PTSD, and often, a skilled therapist can guide that process.
Thriveworks Knoxville offers PTSD therapy. We have worked with many people who have survived traumatic events and who are ready to heal and move forward with their lives.
Risk Factors for PTSD
Some people develop PTSD while others do not, and mental health professionals are still looking for answers as to why. There are a few things therapists know. First, PTSD has nothing to do with being strong. Second, there are known factors that raise an individual’s risk for developing PTSD. Those risk factors include…
- Experiencing an acute or long-lasting trauma.
- How a person’s brain functions—regulating and releasing the hormones that allow them to respond to stress and danger.
- Family history: genetics and history of mental health disorders (especially anxiety and depression).
- The intensity and kind of trauma that was experienced.
- Other times of trauma in an individual’s life, especially childhood abuse.
- Being in a job that has an increased risk of trauma, for example, military personnel, ER doctors, first responders, et cetera.
- A history of addiction or substance abuse.
- Inadequate social-emotional support systems, and lack of support from friends and family members.
There are a number of traumatic experiences that can turn into PTSD. No list could contain them all, but a few examples include combat exposure, physical assault, receiving a threat, being bullied, sexual violence, child abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual), being diagnosed with a terminal illness, living through an accident (fire, car wreck, and more).
PTSD Signs and Symptoms
PTSD’s signs can be organized into four separate groups:
Re-experiencing the Trauma
Some people relive the event, over and over again. People can have these re-experiences at any moment, and they often arouse feelings and images of the event—the panic, horror, and fear can easily come flooding back. For example, PTSD can cause people to…
- Live with regular nightmares and night terrors that feel real.
- Have flashbacks and intrusive memories, feeling as if they are truly in the event.
- Develop triggers—smells, sights, and sounds that can bring the event back to the forefront of their experience.
PTSD can also look like avoidance. People may rearrange their whole lives to avoid anything associated with the trauma. Unfortunately, when this occurs, people may also be cutting out positive and beneficial experiences as well. For instance, in order to avoid any reminder of the trauma, people may…
- Keeping clear of crowds or when in a crowd, never allowing oneself to feel trapped.
- Refusing to drive or ride in a car (especially if the trauma involved transportation like an auto accident).
- Avoiding TV shows, the news, movies, and more.
- Keeping away from anything remotely associated with the event.
Negative Impact on One’s Feeling and Beliefs
Trauma can change how people view themselves, the world, and the event. People who have lived through trauma may come to believe…
- That every relationship is not safe, and all people are untrustworthy.
- That they cannot or should not speak openly about the trauma.
- That the world is always dangerous.
Trauma can leave people alert to every potential danger that may or may not be lurking. Often, people are irritable, nervous, or angry after living through trauma. They may also…
- Experience trouble sleeping.
- Experience trouble concentrating.
- Startle at loud noises or surprises.
- Feel trapped or confined.
Scheduling an Appointment for PTSD at Thriveworks Knoxville
While reading about PTSD, did you recognize anything? If so, think about seeking help. Thriveworks Knoxville offers treatment for PTSD, and we have appointments available. When you call our office, a scheduling specialist will answer—we do not have a voicemail. New clients often have their first appointment the day following their first call. We also offer evening and weekend sessions, but we do not keep a waitlist. We accept many different insurance plans. Let’s work together. Call today.