Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops when someone experiences one or more traumatic events. People who have PTSD may start reliving the memory of the agonizing event while exhibiting intense emotional and physical reactions. This condition can last for months or years. If not treated successfully, PTSD can affect mental health and a person’s overall well-being. Learn more about PTSD and find South Florida mental health treatment facilities that can help you or your loved one recover.
PTSD Causes and Symptoms
Various events can cause people to suffer from PTSD, and each case is unique. To diagnose PTSD, mental health professionals assess past events that led to the trauma and the inability to recover. Common causes include:
- Terrorist attacks
- Fatal road accidents
- Sexual, physical, and mental abuse
- Natural disasters
- The sudden loss of a loved one
It’s important to note that PTSD affects individuals differently. Some can overcome the disorder over a short period. In contrast, others may struggle with the condition over an extended period. Individuals struggling may need help from mental health treatment facilities. However, the symptoms tend to be similar no matter the case. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can include:
- Completely avoiding triggers
- Heightened reactivity to triggers
- Depressed mood
Why Your PTSD Is Getting Worse
PTSD is often challenging to treat. However, our experience in mental health treatment has shown that it’s harder to manage if the patient doesn’t focus on recovery. It’s easy to know if your PTSD is worsening despite treatment interventions. There are a variety of reasons why PTSD may worsen.
The Negligence of Your Self Care
Neglecting basic self-care practices can cause PTSD symptoms to worsen. Self-care includes eating well, exercising, getting enough rest, and indulging in social activities. These simple practices are crucial for everyday living, ensuring you live a stress-free life and not succumb to trauma triggers.
Trauma Is Part of Your Everyday Life
Continuing to experience trauma can also cause PTSD symptoms to worsen. It is hard to escape the trauma if it’s still happening. For instance, if you’re in an ongoing abusive or violent relationship. Efforts to treat PTSD can be challenging if the abuse continues and the disorder becomes more severe.
You Chose Not to Get Professional Help
Asking for help can be tricky. It can be even more challenging for a person struggling with PTSD and embarrassment or shame related to their trauma. We understand that having intense PTSD symptoms can be overwhelming. You may find it difficult to call out for help. However, it’s imperative to turn to mental health treatment facilities and trained professionals for proper care. Recovering from PTSD alone is challenging. Experts can help counter symptoms and develop viable coping skills.
Treatment Options for PTSD
The treatment of PTSD is primarily through the combination of psychotherapy and medication. The therapies typically aim to change the thought process and patterns disturbing life after a traumatic event. There are various therapy interventions for PTSD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT looks at the relationship between feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Therapists discover symptoms and problems and work towards changing the behavioral patterns, emotions, or thoughts causing the fears. CBT is a talk therapy involving voicing your fears to recognize how your thinking keeps you hooked in a traumatic loop.
Cognitive Processing Therapy
It’s a specific type of CBT that assists with challenging and modifying unhelpful beliefs relating to the trauma. That helps create a new understanding of the traumatic event, lessening the ongoing effects. But first, you’ll have to open up to your therapist and talk about the traumatic event and how your thought process affects your life.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Prolonged exposure therapy is another form of CBT. It’s ideal to avoid things that remind you of the traumatic event. Your therapist will help you approach and face the memories, feelings, and situations you have long avoided. This treatment can be done by listing the triggers or recounting your experience. Eventually, you’ll process that the trauma-related cues aren’t as dangerous as you thought and learn that you don’t have to avoid them.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) encourages the patient to focus on the traumatic memories as the therapist administers bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements. This procedure aims to reduce the vividness and emotions stemming from the trauma and give you the ability to think about something positive when remembering the incident.
Stress Inoculation Training
Available in individual or group sessions, this therapy is a form of CBT that teaches the skills needed to address PTSD. It’s unnecessary to give the details about a traumatic experience since patients only need to focus on changing their stress-coping mechanisms. That can be through learning a breathing mechanism or other mind calming and relaxing techniques.
The therapy’s roots lie deep in somatic psychology, addressing the feedback loop that continuously runs between the mind and the body. This is the foundational point for healing from a traumatic experience. Somatic psychology utilizes mind-body techniques, such as meditation, dance, or breathing exercises that release tension that weighs on emotions and physical well-being. Somatic Experiencing sessions generally involve carefully introducing small amounts of traumatic material, observing the patient’s reaction, and developing self-regulating strategies that give comfort and strength.
Mental health professionals usually prescribe medication alongside therapy treatment to help manage symptoms associated with PTSD. Treatment can correct the imbalance in norepinephrine or serotonin, the neurotransmitters in the brain. Different drug prescriptions can help alleviate the fear and anxiety associated with PTSD. Remember that PTSD is different for everyone, and the response to medication is also different. Therefore, your doctor may prescribe off-label drugs for PTSD, meaning they don’t specifically treat PTSD. Off-label prescriptions may include antidepressants, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, or other medicines.
Mental health treatment facilities offer therapy that teaches patients the skills to address symptoms, restore self-esteem, and cope with triggers. Medication can assist by minimizing flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. Medication use may help a patient focus on recovery without the distractions of the condition.
Finding Help in Mental Health Treatment Facilities
It’s crucial to seek prompt PTSD treatment to avoid further mental health issues. Luckily, you have multiple proven treatment programs that can address the disorder. Check out our mental health program in South Florida for more details on how we can help you.