Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment Centers
Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, is developed when an individual experiences a terrifying event that involved threat of physical harm or actual physical harm. It is an anxiety disorder that affects the fight-or-flight response of the body. Normally, it is triggered when an individual is in a situation that induces stress or fear but the disorder disrupts this naturally occurring process. Usually associated with veterans of war, the disorder can actually affect anyone who has suffered from a traumatic experience. People may also suffer from it when a loved one dies or suffered from a traumatic experience.
Essentially, PTSD involves the individual feeling of stress, anxiety and fear even when the person is not in danger anymore. The person suffers from repeatedly having flashbacks of the images and feelings of the traumatic experience. More than 7.7 million adults suffer from this kind of fear which ultimately equates to 1 out of every 30 people having the disorder every year.
What are the risk factors?
There are events that commonly trigger a PTSD episode. These triggers usually include childhood neglect or abuse, being threatened with a weapon, physical attack, sexual molestation, rape, and exposure to a war zone or combat. The risk factors include pessimistic or vulnerable personality, traumatic experiences early in life, lack of support after a traumatic experience, feelings of extreme fear or helplessness, mental illness history, under a traumatic event, witnessing someone get killed or injured, and getting injured.
Role of the Brain
The patient’s genetic makeup is the current focus of the researchers. Researchers want to understand the causes of the disorder and several studies have shown that the brain has a role in the development of the disorder. Known for its critical role in memory, learning and emotion, the amygdala has been identified to be one of the responsible players in the disorders’ development. Known for its role in judgment, problem-solving and decision-making, the prefrontal cortex also has a role in the development of the disorder. However, the underlying factors for the disorder is the variations in in brain areas and genes among individuals. Life events and the environment also have a role in the disorders’ actual development. People may highly suffer from the reliving of the events that caused them trauma when they suffer from severe trauma or head injury.
What are the symptoms?
There are three categories that classify the symptoms of the disorder. One is the hyper-arousal symptoms that may develop to difficulty in sleeping, edginess and startled reactions. The second one is the avoidance of anything that reminds the individual of the traumatic event. The person may suffer from depression, loss of interest in daily activities or hobbies, and emotional numbness. The last category is the re-experiencing or reliving of the traumatic experience through bad dreams, physical response and flashbacks.
Someone who is suffering from PTSD needs the right and full support system. The support should involve various social, psychological and emotional elements. There are treatment facilities that integrate different elements to create an effective and cohesive plan designed to treat PTSD. The treatment is also designed for other conditions that coexist. In this way, the individual recovers from the disorder and other illnesses that he or she experiences. This allows for complete and continuous recovery from the disorder.
In many of the health care facilities, the treatment program usually includes expressive and experiential treatments. The degree of involvement of these two types of treatments vary according to the individualized requirement of the patient.
Medication is also used to help patients recover from the disorder. Usually, antidepressants are given to help the person control anger and sadness. Benzodiazepines are also given to help the person sleep and relax. Lastly, antipsychotics are prescribed to help patients with extreme cases.
On the other hand, psychotherapy is extremely helpful particularly when using cognitive behavioral therapy that includes exposure therapy. In this treatment, the patient is re-exposed to the traumatic event but using an environment that is controlled. In addition, cognitive restructuring is utilized to help the patient make sense from the different trainings to inoculate stress and memory. The patient is also taught how to reduce symptoms and anxiety.
With these different treatment methods, people suffering from PTSD can have an effective way to recover from the disorder. They can also treat the other coexisting conditions so they can normally function physically, mentally and emotionally again.