Boca Raton PTSD Treatment

PTSD TreatmentWhen seeking PTSD treatment, it is helpful to understand what PTSD is. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder. It can develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening or very traumatic event.  Examples include combat, sexual assault, car accident, physical and sexual abuse, major health issue, or natural disasters.

If you have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, seeking help soon is a factor in preventing manifestation of PTSD.  These events can overwhelm your normal ability to cope.  Seeking professional assistance can help you safely navigate the experience in a supportive environment. PTSD therapists can help clients learn healthy coping skills.

Considering PTSD Treatment

Depending on a client’s circumstances, a PTSD therapist may recommend some or all of the following steps:

  • Reaching out for help which includes researching PTSD and contacting a PTSD therapist
  • Talking to and leaning on others which includes opening up and receiving emotional support from people you trust
  • Learning relaxation exercises such as deep breathing to reduce anxiety
  • Use healthy distractions such as reading, music, talking to a friend, taking walks, or soak in the bath
  • Stay in touch with the present moment with mindfulness so that you give yourself a break from the thoughts that may be driving the anxiety and fear
  • Exercise and paying attending to a healthy lifestyle which includes enough sleep
  • Connect with your spiritual life however you define it and can be as simple as being in nature

Effects and Symptoms of PTSD

After such events, it is not uncommon to experience increased stress, to feel upset and fearful, experience disrupted sleep, intrusive thoughts, or problems concentrating.  For some, these symptoms may resolve after a few weeks and the person resumes normal functioning.  For others, however; these symptoms and others can persist and cause ongoing distress and difficulty managing daily functioning like work and family.

Symptoms of PTSD can include involuntary and intrusive memories that persist, nightmares, flashbacks where one has a sudden and powerful re-experiencing of the event, stress and irritability, as well as feeling on edge and hypervigilant.   Many who have PTSD attempt to avoid thoughts or feelings related to the trauma as well as reminders such as people, places, situations, or activities.  This can lead to isolation and alienation of others.  PTSD often negatively impacts mood and cognition.  Key parts of the trauma may not be recalled.  Cognitive distortions may lead to negative beliefs about oneself and the world such as “I’m bad”, “I’m not safe”, “The world is unsafe”, or “It’s all my fault”.  Other symptoms include difficulty connecting to others and generally being unable to experience positive emotions.  Depression, fear, anger, panic, guilt, and shame are also common.

Many people who have PTSD experience self-destructive or reckless behaviors such as harming oneself physically, drug and alcohol abuse, and unhealthy eating habits.  These are often attempts to cope with and gain relief from the distressful memories and symptoms.  They may provide some temporary relief but have long-term consequences that will not alleviate PTSD. Not everyone develops PTSD after a negative or traumatic event but may still experience some of the symptoms associated with it.  Life events like divorce, grieving, bullying, and a difficult breakup affect us and can lead to some of the symptoms discussed. For more information visit the NIMH site.

Seeking PTSD Treatment

PTSD treatment varies depending on the individual and the nature of his or her trauma experience.  Some examples of PTSD treatments include:

While reaching out for support, It is important to choose a therapist with experience in PTSD treatment and trauma related issues as well as one with whom you connect.  The therapeutic relationship will provide a supportive and empathetic space where you can safely process the event and address the symptoms. Jody Morgan, LCSW, is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and is an EMDR Certified Therapist. Call today (561) 366-2476.