Sebastian was coming home from a friend’s house when he hopped on the subway. He was safe and happy to be back home in New York City. As he rode in the car, it gradually filled with people, and his blood pressure gradually rose too. Before long, Sebastian was pinned against the wall in a crowd of people and an enclosed subway car. He panicked. At the next stop, he ran off the train and all the way home. Ever since he had been home from his military tour, Sebastian had been having panic attacks whenever he was in an enclosed, crowded space. He was safe, but his body did not know it—Sebastian had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He told his story to Vanity Fair because he wanted to raise awareness. Sebastian wanted people to know what PTSD is, and if they are struggling, help is available. Soon after his panic attack on the subway, Sebastian started working with a therapist, and he found the treatment he needed for his PTSD.
“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
― Peter A. Levine
PTSD’s symptoms can show up within hours or days of the traumatic event, but it can also take months or years for PTSD to show itself. Whenever PTSD develops, it is important for people to know its symptoms and that treatment is possible. PTSD can be a debilitating mental illness, but people can also recover from it—often with the help of a trained counselor.
Are you suffering from PTSD and you’re looking for a Prince William Counselor or Psychologist who can help treat it? The therapists at Thriveworks Manassas in Prince William County offer PTSD treatment. We have many clients who are survivors, who have lived through traumatic life events. We also helped them find the resources they needed to resolve the trauma and live their lives.
How PTSD Can Develop
In response to a traumatic event, some people may develop PTSD, but some people will not. It is not completely clear why PTSD occurs in some but not others, but one thing is clear: having PTSD has nothing to do with being weak or any personal flaw. The risk factors for how and why PTSD develops are largely outside of an individual’s control, and just like cancer patients do not have control over their illness, neither do people with PTSD.
Certain things can raise an individual’s risk for PTSD, including…
- Living through an on-going or acute traumatic event.
- How an individual’s brain releases and regulates certain hormones during perceived or real stress, danger, or threats.
- A genetic history of mental illness—especially anxiety or depression.
- The type of trauma that occurred—particularly its intensity and duration.
- Other trauma that an individual has experienced—especially child neglect and abuse.
- Working in a profession that is regularly exposed to trauma: military, doctors, first responders, police, and more.
- A past or current addiction.
- Poor social and emotional support from friends or family members.
Trauma comes in many shapes and forms. No list could contain all the traumas an individual may experience, but common forms include physical assault, sexual violence, being diagnosed with a terminal illness, combat exposure, receiving a threat, being bullied, child abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual), living through an accident (fire, car wreck, and more).
PTSD: Long-term Effects of Trauma
“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
There are four types of effects that PTSD can cause:
PTSD can lead people to live in fear and avoidance or anything that in any way may be associated with the trauma they experienced. They may withdraw into a small world and cut out the good as well as the hard that life has to offer. When people are avoiding, they may…
- Stopping meeting up with friends or family members because they do not want to be in a crowd or feel trapped.
- Refuse to drive or ride in a car.
- Stop watching TV, avoid reading the newspaper, refuse to go to movies, et cetera.
Re-experiencing the Trauma
PTSD may cause people to relive the trauma again and again. Within moments, the feelings and the sensations can arise. When people are re-experiencing the trauma, they may…
- Be having night terrors or nightmares that remind them of the trauma or that replay the trauma.
- Experience intrusive memories or flashbacks that pop up at inopportune times.
- Be triggered by certain sights, sounds, or smells that bring the trauma to their attention.
Even after the danger has passed, trauma can leave people hyper-alert and unable to feel safe. Hyperarousal can look like…
- Being nervous, irritable, or angry.
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
- Difficulty focusing.
- Startling easily.
Negative Impact to One’s Feeling and Beliefs
PTSD can change the way that people think about the world, other people, themselves, and the trauma. People may come to believe negative, untrue things like…
- All people are unsafe and untrustworthy.
- The traumatic event should be forgotten and not spoken about.
- The world is a harmful, threatening place to live.
Appointments at Thriveworks Manassas in Prince William for PTSD
Whether PTSD develops or not may be outside of an individual’s control, but seeking help is within their control. Therapy is often the best way to fight back against the effects of PTSD. If you are ready to start therapy for PTSD, know that Thriveworks Manassas in Prince William has appointments available. When you call out office, your first appointment may be within 24 hours. We also accept many different forms of insurance. Call today.