It’s normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed after living through or witnessing a traumatic or potentially life-threatening event. In most cases, these feelings will subside with time. However, some people may go on to develop more intense and prolonged reactions that can impact their overall quality of life. When this happens, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychological disorder that occurs after a person experiences or witnesses a deeply traumatizing experience. It can manifest in various ways and may disrupt daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. Examples of common traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, combat, physical or sexual assault, or the sudden loss of a loved one.
Symptoms Of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD differ from person to person and can vary in intensity. They are generally categorized into four main groups:
Intrusive thoughts – PTSD patients often experience distressing flashbacks of the traumatic event, have nightmares, or become haunted by recurring intrusive memories and mental images. These memories can be so intense that most people report feeling like they were going through the traumatic experience all over again.
Avoidance – They may go to great lengths to avoid reminders of the traumatic event, such as avoiding specific places, people, situations, or conversations. They may even have difficulty remembering details about the event.
Negative changes in mood, thinking, and cognition – PTSD can often lead to negative emotions such as guilt, shame, anger, and fear. People with PTSD may also struggle with depression, aggression, irritability, emotional numbness, and cognitive decline.
Hyperarousal – PTSD can cause a person to be constantly on edge, jumpy, and easily startled. They may also have difficulty concentrating or sleeping and become easily overwhelmed.
It is important to remember that everyone experiences and responds to trauma in different ways, so these symptoms may not be the same for everyone. If you believe that you or a loved one is experiencing PTSD, it is important to seek professional help.
How Is PTSD Treated?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating condition that requires professional medical intervention for effective management. Luckily, there are several evidence-based treatment approaches available to help individuals with PTSD regain control over their lives.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a primary treatment modality for PTSD. It aims to address the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors associated with the traumatic event. Some commonly used psychotherapies for PTSD include:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. It focuses on challenging distorted beliefs, managing anxiety and depression symptoms, and developing effective coping strategies.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR combines elements of cognitive therapy with bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or hand taps. This technique helps individuals process traumatic memories and reduce distressing symptoms.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE): PE involves gradually confronting and processing traumatic memories through repeated, controlled exposure. It helps reduce avoidance behaviors and desensitizes individuals to triggers associated with the trauma.
In some cases, medications may be prescribed alongside psychotherapy to alleviate specific symptoms of PTSD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline or paroxetine, are the most commonly prescribed medications in PTSD treatment.
These antidepressants can help manage symptoms of depression, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts associated with PTSD. Prazosin is also commonly prescribed to reduce nightmares and improve sleep disturbances associated with PTSD.
Alternative Treatments for PTSD
Alternative treatments such as lifestyle modifications, acupuncture, and mindfulness techniques may also help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. In recent years, ketamine infusion therapy has emerged as a promising treatment option for individuals with PTSD who have not been responsive to conventional treatments.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a complicated condition that can cause significant distress and disruption to daily life. If you suspect you may have PTSD, it is crucial to seek professional help for proper diagnosis and treatment.
But if traditional treatments are not enough, keep an open mind and be ready to explore alternative treatment approaches such as ketamine infusion therapy. At Greater Wellness Clinic, we specialize in providing tailored ketamine treatments to help individuals who have not found relief from traditional treatment options reclaim their lives.