As the subway door closed, more people had crowded into the car. Sebastian was jostled against the wall. His breathing tightened, and his heart raced. When the subway doors opened at the next stop, Sebastian ran. Sebastian’s response was a typical response to danger, but the only problem was that he was not in danger. A few months before this incident, Sebastian Junger had served a tour in a warzone, and back home and safe, he was struggling. Sebastian had PTSD, and he told his struggle to Vanity Fair. He wanted others to know what PTSD is and how to get help. Sebastian had regular panic attacks until he started meeting with a counselor. With therapy for PTSD, Sebastian healed and regained his sense of safety.
“Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.”
― Peter A. Levine
After a trauma, some people develop PTSD within days of the event. Others do not show signs of PTSD for months or years after. Others do not develop PTSD after a trauma. If PTSD develops and when it develops, it is often important for people to seek help because effective treatments are available that have helped many people feel safe and move forward after a trauma.
Thriveworks Virginia Beach provides therapy for PTSD, and our counselors have helped many people process their trauma and learn healthy coping skills.
PTSD: How It Develops
Why PTSD can occur in one person and not is another is not completely clear; however, mental health professionals are learning more and more about this mental illness. First, they know that PTSD has nothing to do with whether people are weak or strong. Anyone who has lived through a trauma is strong. Second, mental health professionals know that certain factors can make the illness more likely to develop. For example, these can increase a person’s risk for PTSD…
- Experiencing any kind of trauma.
- The way one’s brain dispenses hormones when stressed or endangered or threatened.
- Experiencing other traumas in life—especially childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma.
- A genetic predisposition (family history) of mental illness—especially depression and anxiety.
- The duration and intensity of the trauma.
- Working a job where exposure to trauma is more likely—first responders, police officers, military personnel, ER doctors, and more.
- Little social and emotional support from friends and family members.
- Addiction or substance abuse (past or present).
It would be impossible to list everything that fits the definition of trauma, but a few common traumas that people face include… receiving a terminal diagnosis, being bullied, sexual violence, childhood abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional), being threatened, combat exposure, physical assault, experiencing an accident (car crash, fire, et cetera), and more.
“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 effects of PTSD can be organized into four categories:
Rearranging One’s life
PTSD can look like the reorganization of one’s life. People often want to avoid anything that could possibly remind them of the event. In this rearrangement, people often miss out of the good parts of their lives as well. They may…
- Stop going out with friends to avoid loud places or crowds or feeling trapped.
- Avoid riding in a car, driving, or being in a vehicle of any kind.
- Refuse to watch movies, TV, the news, and more.
Re-living the Event
When people have PTSD, they may re-experience the event over and over again. Without warning, they can feel as if the event or something similar is happening. People will PTSD may experience…
- Nightmares and terrors that are filled with anxiety and fear.
- Flashbacks and intrusive memories that rehash the trauma.
- Certain sights, smells, or sounds that trigger the feelings of the event.
PTSD can leave people constantly alert, sensing any and every potential threat. This state can leave people stressed out and exhausted. Hyperarousal can look like…
- Challenges with sleep, particularly insomnia.
- Difficulty focusing.
- Startling at loud noises or surprises.
Changes to One’s Beliefs and Feelings
When people live through trauma, PTSD can leave them questioning what they know and what they believe. People may come to believe and base their decisions upon thoughts like…
- The world is an inherently harmful place, and no one is ever safe.
- People are untrustworthy, and relationships are harmful.
- The traumatic event should be forgotten and never spoken about.
Scheduling an Appointment for PTSD at Thriveworks Virginia Beach
Have you lived through a traumatic event? Did you recognize any of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? If so, it may be time to reach out for help. It may be time to schedule therapy for PTSD. If you are ready to find treatment, know that Thriveworks Virginia Beach offers PTSD counseling, and we have appointments available.
When you contact our office, a scheduling specialist (that is, a real person—not a voicemail) will answer and help you make an appointment. New clients often meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their first call. Weekend and evening session are offered, but you will never be put on a waitlist because we do not keep one. Many different insurance plans are accepted. Let’s work together to reestablish safety and move forward. Call today.