Professional Assistance with Coping and Healing
What is PTSD?
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after someone witnesses or experiences a traumatic event that is life-threatening, that severely compromises physical or emotional well-being, or causes intense fear. These traumatic events can include:
- serious accidents
- medical procedures or surgeries
- natural disasters
- military combat
- childhood neglect or abuse
- terrorist incidents
- physical or sexual assaults or threats
Although the diagnosis of PTSD currently requires that the individual has a history of experiencing a traumatic event, people may develop PTSD symptoms in reaction to events that may not qualify as traumatic but can be devastating life events.
PTSD symptoms can start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you significant distress, or interfere with your daily functioning, you may have PTSD.
Some of the common symptoms of PTSD are:
- Reliving the event or re-experiencing symptoms such as flashbacks or nightmares. It may feel like you are going through the event again.
- Avoiding situations that remind you of the event; you may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
- Negative changes in beliefs and feelings such as the way you think about yourself or others. You may feel fear, guilt or shame, or you may withdraw from activities you used to enjoy as a way to avoid memories.
- Hyperarousal, where you may be jittery or always alert and vigilant about any signs of danger. You may have trouble concentrating or sleeping as well.
- If not treated, people with PTSD may experience other issues in their life such as feelings of hopelessness or despair, depression, anxiety, addiction, physical symptoms or chronic pain, employment problems, or relationship problems.
How common is PTSD?
About 30 percent of men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD, but PTSD affects more people than just the military: According to the National Center for PTSD, nearly 8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women more than twice as likely as men to develop the disorder.
How is PTSD treated?
When you have PTSD, confronting the past can be very difficult. Instead of opening up to others about how you feel, you may want to keep your feelings bottled up. However, there are many options for treatment that can help you get better.
The most common types of treatment for PTSD are psychotherapy and medications. Early treatment is important and may help reduce long-term symptoms. At Westport Family Counseling, our goal is to help you reduce your PTSD symptoms, develop ways to cope with the symptoms, and learn how to manage other problems associated with PTSD.
What’s the next step?
Call 203-227-4555 or fill out the form to the left to speak with a therapist and set up an appointment.