Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Sterling, VA—Therapy and Counseling
Sebastian was so glad to be home. He had served his country, and now, he was back safely in New York. Sebastian had seen some tough things in combat, and he thought that was all behind him until one night when he was riding the subway home. As people crowded into the car, his back was pushed against a wall, and he panicked. Sebastian did what everyone does when they feel like they are in danger: he ran. He got off at the next step and ran home instead of riding the subway. The only problem was that Sebastian was not actually in any danger. Sebastian was, instead, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He told his story to Vanity Fair because he wanted other people to know that PTSD has treatments. They can reach out and get help, just like he did. Sebastian reached out to a mental health professional and went to therapy for PTSD.
“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
― Peter A. Levine
Sometimes, the symptoms of PTSD develop soon after a trauma. Sometimes, it can take years or months for them to develop. PTSD will not occur in everyone who has lived through a traumatic event, but whenever it does develop, it is important for people to seek help. It can be a debilitating mental illness, but it has treatments. Resolving the trauma, and living a peaceful, safe life is possible.
Thriveworks Sterling counselors and psychologists have helped many people who are struggling with PTSD. We know how crippling PTSD can be, but we also know how much healing can happen.
PTSD: How It Develops
It is unclear exactly why PTSD develops, but mental health professionals understand that certain factors can make it more likely. These risk factors have absolutely nothing to do with an individual being strong or weak. Instead, many of the risk factors for PTSD are outside of an individual’s control. People who have PTSD have endured the unimaginable and are often survivors.
Risks factors for PTSD include…
- Experiencing an on-going, long-term trauma or an acute trauma.
- An individual’s brain: how well it regulates hormones and allows people to react to threats and danger.
- Family history and genetics: particularly a history of depression and anxiety disorders.
- The type of trauma that occurred, its duration, and its intensity.
- Other traumas a person may have experienced, in particular childhood abuse or trauma.
- Addiction or substance abuse, either current or past.
- Being in a job where trauma exposure is more likely: ER doctor, police office, military personnel, first responder, et cetera.
- Inadequate family and friendship support.
No list could contain all the forms of trauma that can trigger PTSD, but common examples include sexual violence, receiving a terminal diagnosis, experiencing an accident (fire, car crash et cetera), being bullied, being threatened, combat exposure, physical assault, childhood abuse (sexual, physical, or emotional), and more.
PTSD’s Symptoms and Signs
“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
The symptoms for PTSD can be categorized into four distinct but related categories:
After the trauma has passed, people may still feel alert to trouble. They may not be able to rest, relax, and feel safe. They may…
- Have difficulty staying focused and concentrating on a particular task.
- Be unable to fall asleep or stay asleep because they are so alarmed.
- Be easily surprised or startled by loud noises.
Rearranging One’s Life
PTSD can, at times, look like rearranging one’s life. People may go to great lengths to evade everything that could possibly be associated with the trauma. In doing so, they may also avoid the good that life has to offer while these arrangements rarely mitigate all the bad that life has to offer. People may…
- Stop going out or getting together with friends because they do not feel safe in a crowd.
- Refuse to drive or ride in a car—especially if the trauma involved a vehicle wreck.
- Never watch movies, the news, or TV.
Re-living the Trauma
When PTSD develops, it may cause people to re-experience the event over and over again. At any moment, PTSD can cause people to feel the emotions of the trauma, see images from the trauma, and more. People may re-experience the event through…
- Flashbacks and memories that recur.
- Nightmares and terrors about the event.
- Certain sights, sounds, or smells that trigger the feeling of being in the trauma.
Adjusted Feeling and Beliefs
When people go through a trauma, PTSD may adjust the way they view the world and themselves. People may come to believe untrue things like…
- Other people should not be trusted. All relationships are harmful.
- The world is not safe.
- If I ignore what happened, I can move forward.
PTSD Treatments at Thriveworks Sterling
As you read about PTSD, did you recognize any of the symptoms? If you did, know that help is available. Thriveworks Sterling offers PTSD treatment, and we have appointments available. When you call our office, one of our scheduling specialists will answer and help you set up a session. We offer evening and weekend appointments, and new clients often meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their call. We also accept many insurance plans. Call today.