Everything You Need to Know Aout Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Psych Associates Annapolis Help You Understand PTSD and its Treatments

As Veterans Day rolls around the corner, many of us are reminded of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women fighting for our nation every day. Long after the service is over, veterans continue to pay the price of fighting for our freedom with physical handicaps and mental health conditions like PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

While veterans commonly have PTSD after witnessing combat and other aspects of military service, they aren’t the only ones susceptible to this worrisome mental illness. At Psych Associates of Maryland, we want to help bring peace to all PTSD sufferers, which is why we’re taking the time this Veterans Day to teach you everything you need to know about PTSD. Psych Associates Annapolis will break down what post-traumatic stress disorder is, who gets PTSD, and how it can be treated.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Experiencing Traumatic Events Changes the Brain

group therapy session

While we’ve all heard of PTSD, not many people understand the disorder, leading to a great amount of stigma and understanding. PTSD occurs is people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event like a natural disaster, terrorist attack, accident, combat, or some type of assault. For years, the effects of PTSD were downplayed as ‘shell shock’ or ‘combat fatigue,’ manifesting as disturbing thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic event long after the war.

However, research since then has found that trauma causes changes in the brain that affect a victim’s ability to move past the event. People with PTSD relive the traumatic event through flashbacks and nightmares, issues with regulating emotions, feeling detached or estranged, and having strong reactions to triggers like loud noises or an accidental touch. This is because people with PTSD essentially have a broken amygdala, or the part of the brain that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response (also known as fight, flight, freeze). Everyday events and actions can make people with PTSD feel like they are reliving the event, causing spells of panic and intense emotion.

However, not every response to trauma is post-traumatic stress disorder. Many people after witnessing an accident or being in a car crash will feel shaken, jumpy, and easily triggered for a few days after the event. However, in order to be diagnosed with PTSD, these symptoms must persist for more than a month after the incident. Most times symptoms appear within 3 months following the trauma, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms to appear months to years later.

PTSD often coincides with other trauma-related mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, memory problems, and more. These mental illnesses combined with the effects of PTSD lead to a complex spiral of issues for medical professionals and the psych associates Annapolis to work though.

Who Gets Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Some People are More Susceptible to PTSD than Others

distressed woman talking to two police officers

PTSD is caused by a number of traumatic events, including war, car accidents, sexual assault, physical abuse, terrorist attacks, and shootings. Additionally, PTSD can occur in people who are simply witnesses to trauma, like doctors and first-responders. Because of the number of events that can lead to PTSD, 3.5% of adults are diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Studies find that women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD - notably due to the frequency in which sexual assault occurs and violence toward women as a whole.

Living with PTSD is often unseen by those without a watchful eye. Manifesting as jumpiness, emotional distances, and angry outbursts in some people, PTSD is often a silent battle that is misunderstood or too taboo to discuss. When visiting Pysch Associate Annapolis, we encourage you to open up about your battle and its long term effects, reminding you that you are far from alone in your suffering.

How is PTSD Treated by Psych Associates Annapolis?

Treatment Options for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

woman talking to a therapist

Studies find that 50% of people suffering from PTSD never seek help from a professional. Perhaps this is caused in part by stigma, but it also may be due to the fact that people are not aware of the treatments available for PTSD sufferers. The success rate for treatment of PTSD is high, and some of the best treatments include the following techniques:

  • CPT (Cognitive processing therapy): CPT works through what practitioners refer to as ‘stuck points,’ which include intrusive thoughts about self-blame and feeling like you could have done more to prevent the incident. By reframing the incident, victims often realize that they can begin to forgive themselves and process trauma normally again.
  • EMDR: EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, is one of the most successful approaches to treating PTSD. Using a calming eye-movement (or bilateral stimulation in any way), victims can reprocess memories and process distress in a healthy, controlled environment.
  • Medication: SSRIs and SNRIs are FDA-approved to treat PTSD. However, part of treating PTSD often involves treating the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and nightmares that coincide, leading to the use of medications of Xanax and Prazosin for treating PTSD.

If you’re battling symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Get in touch with Psych Associates of Maryland today to learn about how we can help you tackle PTSD and other mental health issues.


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