Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Impacts Millions
When you or a loved one are exposed to a shocking, troubling, dangerous or scary event, it’s natural to experience temporary emotional effects stemming from it. Situations such as those trigger our body’s “fight or flight” response, and then our brain tries to sort out what we’ve experienced while coming to terms with the triggering event. But sometimes your brain can’t resolve what you’ve been through, and instead gets locked in a harmful pattern that can alter its thought processes significantly. When that occurs a life-changing behavioral condition can result which is clinically referred to as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), PTSD is classified as any response to trauma that interferes with one’s ability to cope or function on a daily basis. Mental health professionals have found that over three percent of the U.S. population experience PTSD each year, and that a third of those cases are deemed to be “severe”. The most common examples of PTSD are found in military veterans who’ve been in combat situations, but there are other PTSD causes that people are exposed to including:
- Sexual assault or abuse
- Domestic violence
- Transportation-related accidents
- Verbal and/or physical altercations
- Personal experiences like job loss or relationship breakups
- Secondhand traumatic experiences like the death of a loved one
When you or someone close to you is challenged by PTSD it can be debilitating and interfere with that person’s health, relationships, and school and job performance.
Symptoms of PTSD Include these
Therapists separate PTSD symptoms into four different categories based upon their characteristics, those being: re-experiencing, avoidance, arousal and reactivity, and cognition and mood. Here are the four categories and their corresponding symptoms:
- Re-experiencing: Flashbacks; disturbing or frightening thoughts; nightmares; reliving the traumatic event with physiological indicators like sweating and rapid pulse
- Avoidance: Ignoring or repressing emotions and/or thoughts related to the traumatic event; trying to escape reminders of it by avoiding people, places, situations and things
- Arousal and reactivity: Trouble falling or staying asleep; startling easily; feeling tense or “on edge”; and unexpected emotional outbursts, notably anger
- Cognition and mood: Memory loss or difficulty remembering; feelings of guilt, self-blame, or blaming of others; not finding enjoyment in previously enjoyed activities; negative thoughts about oneself and hopeless thoughts about the world in general
A PTSD client can present with symptoms from one or more of these categories which helps clinicians make a definitive diagnosis. If you or someone close to you has PTSD, that person is also at risk for other mental health conditions such as anxiety, grief, depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. At times the coexisting mental health issues make it more complicated for the individual with PTSD to get help. Fortunately there is effective therapeutic counseling, also known as coaching, available to help someone with PTSD begin to get his or her life on the right track again.
How does Counseling for PTSD Work?
Counseling, or coaching, sessions for PTSD clients are very individualized and based on the symptoms, traumatic experience(s) involved and coexisting mental health conditions. Coaching services are designed to help you or your loved one make sense of their negative experiences and feelings, devise a plan to stay safe, learn healthy life coping behaviors, connect with additional resources and support, and to start making posttraumatic growth improvements.
Either primary or add-on psychotherapeutic methodologies that have shown promise in treating people with PTSD include these:
- Exposure therapy
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Psychotropic medications
The good news for you or someone you care about is that a majority of clients with PTSD who receive professional coaching assistance are able to recover.
Thriveworks Henrico Counselors and Nurse Practitioners Understand PTSD
As we’ve seen, when you or someone you care about experiences PTSD it can cause other unhealthy conditions. Left unchecked, PTSD can have a negative effect on their daily activities including relationships, at school and job performance. You and your loved one don’t have to go it alone any longer. At Thriveworks Henrico, our compassionate and helpful coaches are equipped for PTSD counseling and can assist you or your loved one in overcoming its challenges while developing a more positive outlook on life. For more information on our PTSD coaching services, or how to become a certified Thriveworks Henrico, VA coach, call: (804) 205-3408 today or visit our Contact page now.