PTSD is an anxiety disorder that results from the experience of extreme traumatic events. This disorder occurs when our normal fight or flight response is changed or damaged. Our fight or flight response is natural and it is designed to help protect ourselves from possible danger. When a person has PTSD, their fight or flight response is still occurring when there is no danger pending. Persons who develop PTSD have experienced a traumatic event, have knowledge of a loved one who has experienced it, or they have witnessed a traumatic event themselves.
Traumatic events can be: natural disasters, accidents, domestic violence, muggings, sexual assaults, and other events that are horrific in nature.
Signs & Symptoms
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms
Symptoms can be triggered by environmental cues perceived through what one sees, hears, touch, tastes, and smells. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Women appear to be more at risk. Research is even suggesting that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families. Not everyone is experiences a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Exposure therapy. This therapy helps people face and control their fear. It exposes them to the trauma they experienced in a safe way. It uses mental imagery, writing, or visits to the place where the event happened. The therapist uses these tools to help people with PTSD cope with their feelings. Exposure is graduated from minimal anxiety producing imagery to more intense anxiety producing imagery as they become more ready and stronger.
Cognitive restructuring. This therapy helps people make sense of the bad memories. Sometimes people remember the event differently than how it happened. They may feel guilt or shame about what is not their fault. The therapist helps people with PTSD look at what happened in a realistic way. Help persons to change the way he or she thinks about their experience.
Stress inoculation training. This therapy tries to reduce PTSD symptoms by teaching a person how to manage their anxiety. Like cognitive restructuring, this treatment helps people look at their memories in a healthy way. Addresses the associated fear physically, behaviorally, and cognitively.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). It is a psychotherapy treatment designed to alleviate stress caused by traumatic events and the memories created by those events.
How does talk therapy help?
Antidepressants-target the depressive symptoms that are a part of PTSD such as sadness, worrying, anxiety, and numbness.