Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a complex psychological disorder affecting as much as 3.5% of the US adult population. PTSD develops after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Although PTSD has gained more attention over recent decades, the term is also often misused or misrepresented. So what is PTSD exactly? Below we’ll discuss in detail what actually leads to a PTSD diagnosis and what causes PTSD to develop. If you believe you have PTSD and are looking for Boca Raton counseling options to help, get in touch with Morgan Center for Counseling and Wellbeing to find the compassionate help you deserve.
What is PTSD Exactly?
Although PTSD has become more well-known both nationally and worldwide, there are still common misconceptions about what it is exactly. Boca Raton counseling can still be sought for countless reasons beyond PTSD treatment, but understanding the actual PTSD diagnosis is important to proper treatment.
According to the DSM-5, PTSD manifests in 20 varying symptoms that are organized into 4 clusters. For someone to receive an official diagnosis of PTSD, there must be at least 6 out of 20 symptoms experienced altogether with a maximum of 20. The clusters and associated symptoms of PTSD are:
- Re-experiencing Cluster (2/6) – Nightmares, intrusive recollections, flashbacks, psychological distress at reminders, physiological distress at reminders
- Avoidance Cluster (1/2) – Avoidance of internal reminders, avoidance of external reminders
- Altered Cognitions and Moods Cluster (2/7) – Dissociative amnesia, negative beliefs about oneself and the world, distorted blaming of oneself, negative persistent emotional states, loss of interests, detachment from loved ones, restricted range of affect
- Increased Arousal Cluster (2/6) – Hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, concentration difficulty, sleep difficulty, irritability or outbursts of anger, self-destructive or reckless behavior
The purpose of the above criteria is to prevent mental health professionals from over-diagnosing PTSD. In addition, in order to set PTSD apart from similar stress-related conditions, the symptoms must be experienced for greater than one month after the traumatic event occurs.
What Causes PTSD?
When someone sees or experiences a traumatic event, the brain experiences stress. The brain’s natural reaction to high-stress situations is to respond in a “fight or flight” response in order to keep the person safe. However, everyone’s response is different and, for some, there are lingering effects that either never go away or worsen over time.
Many people first learned about how destructive living with PTSD can be after the first and second World Wars. Veterans would return from the wars with “shellshock” or “battle fatigue”, previous terms for what we now recognize as PTSD.
Hollywood portrayals also gained a large audience over the decades. As a result, PTSD quickly because associated with military combat within the US culture. However, military combat is only one small faction in events that contribute to a PTSD diagnosis. Fortunately, a better understanding is finally being achieved both in the mental health community and elsewhere.
The following traumatic events are examples of situations with a high risk of developing PTSD:
- Going through or seeing life-threatening situations
- Surviving violent acts (domestic violence, rape, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, physical assault)
- Surviving car accidents, natural disasters, mass shootings, terrorist attacks
- Experiencing military combat or war
- Unexpectedly or suddenly losing a close friend or relative
- Childhood trauma and/or abuse
It’s easy to understand how the above traumatic events contribute to the development of PTSD, but there are many more. Seemingly insignificant events or even going through a divorce or a difficult breakup can sometimes affect someone so greatly that PTSD is developed. The important thing to remember is if you believe you have PTSD, you are not alone. Considering Boca Raton counseling to begin treating PTSD is a great place to begin overcoming the impact living with trauma can have.
Why Morgan Counseling for PTSD Treatment?
Here at Morgan Counseling in Boca Raton, the wellbeing of our clients takes precedence above all else. Providing trauma counseling for PTSD treatment is a specialty we care deeply about. Offering clients the chance to explore their trauma in a compassionate and stress-free clinical environment gives them the opportunity to develop new coping skills to minimize triggers and move towards peace.
As a Boca Raton therapist with the Certified Clinical Trauma Professional 2019 certification, we have the ability to use a variety of highly effective modalities proven to ease the effects relating to PTSD-related stressors. In addition to the patient-centered CBT, we offer EMDR and Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy. By utilizing an integrated therapeutic approach in a caring environment, the potential for treating PTSD is greatly increased.
Please contact Morgan Center for Counseling in Boca Raton to learn more about how our therapist can help you achieve your therapy goals and, ultimately, discover a more positive life.