According to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. That said, not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event—some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
An adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month to meet the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD:
- Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence
- At least one re-experiencing symptom associated with the traumatic event (flashbacks, nightmares)
- Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event
- Efforts to avoid distressing thoughts associated with the traumatic event(s)
- Avoidance of external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations associated with the traumatic event(s)
- At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (feeling tense or “on edge” most of the time; reckless or self-destructive behavior; Hypervigilance)
- At least two cognition and mood symptoms (Negative thoughts about oneself or the world; Distorted feelings like guilt or blame; feelings of detachment or estrangement from others; Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event).
Who is Most at Risk for Developing PTSD?
War veterans, policeman, fireman, detectives, children, and people who have been through a physical or sexual assault, abuse, accident, disaster, or other serious events. Additionally, the Black Community has experienced and continues to experience PTSD.
PTSD Treatment Options
It is important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a trauma-informed mental health therapist who is experienced with Trauma. Some people with PTSD may need to try different treatments or a combination of treatments to find what works best for their symptoms. Two of the newer PTSD Treatment options are EMDR and CPT.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): Teaches you to reframe negative thoughts about the trauma. It involves talking with your provider about your negative thoughts and doing short writing assignments.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR for PTSD helps you process the trauma, which can allow you to start to heal. In EMDR, you will pay attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone) while you call to mind the upsetting memory until shifts occur in the way that you experience that memory and more information from the past is processed.
PTSD can also be treated with CBT, TF-CBT, somatic therapies, mindfulness, and psychodynamic modalities.
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Get Started with PTSD Treatment
To get started with PTSD treatment, contact us at 412-322-2129 or fill out the form below.