Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Spreading PTSD Awareness and Showing How It Can Lead to Crisis

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Spreading PTSD Awareness and Showing How It Can Lead to Crisis

Do you know that people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may experience mental health challenges for a long time? Untreated PTSD can be triggered by later events and cause a mental health crisis. Since June is post-traumatic stress disorder month, more people must be aware of PTSD and its lasting impact. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention has the expertise to treat PTSD effectively so that a crisis can be prevented.

Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, a common mental health disorder caused by witnessing or experiencing highly traumatic events or tragic circumstances. Although everyone goes through stressful situations in life, this kind of traumatic stress is unlike others. They are either extremely harmful or life-threatening. Common examples of events that lead to PTSD include warfare, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, abuse, violence, bullying, and historic trauma such as racism.

When understanding PTSD, a related concept is “trauma.” Not all adverse circumstances count as “trauma.” It refers to situations of physical, emotional, or life-threatening harm. Because trauma may affect people of all ages, gender, socioeconomic, and race groups, PTSD can also be pervasive in society. Since trauma is a complex phenomenon by itself, PTSD also involves complex signs and symptoms.

The most common signs and symptoms of PTSD include having unsettling thoughts, dreams, and even flashbacks to traumatic events which may have happened a long time ago. While people may feel recurring fear or sadness, they may also isolate from others. When things or situations remind them of past trauma, they may be triggered and overreact or respond dramatically. 

Getting a Diagnosis

In order to fully treat PTSD, there needs to be a thorough and comprehensive diagnosis with regard to what the troubling traumatic events were. This is also known as “exposure.” This may happen through direct or indirect means. Health professionals also need to assess whether there are related mental health conditions such as general anxiety disorders and depression. Some symptoms may overlap with PTSD, and that is where the complication lies.

For example, people with PTSD may also develop acute stress disorder. This happens to a lot of individuals who experience rape, domestic violence, or other interpersonal violence. The symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and emotional numbing. Some people may even develop emotional dissociation from themselves. 

Another related condition is reactive attachment disorder, which happens in children. When they suffered neglect or abuse in the earliest years, children may become emotionally withdrawn from others or non-responsive to others even when they feel distressed. These children tend to experience developmental delays, including cognitive impairment. 

Modalities of Treatment

People with professionally diagnosed PTSD require a high level of psychiatric treatment from a trauma-informed care approach. It is true that in some cases, PTSD symptoms may tailor off with enough time, social support, and self-healing. But many people are not aware of their having PTSD or whether they have fully recovered. Ignoring this important mental health condition may lead to a crisis later in life.

When treating PTSD, both mental health therapists and psychiatrists need to work together. A combination of treatment methods can be used, ranging from medications to individual therapy, and group therapy. Take the most common method, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example. A trained and experienced therapist will understand an individual’s medical history before beginning to help them recognize the lasting impact of past trauma.

As an evidence-based modality, CBT is highly effective in treating PTSD because it follows a structured way of identifying and interrupting harmful thought patterns that were shaped by trauma and distorted beliefs. When a person demonstrates behaviors of self-harm, another type of CBT known as dialectic behavior therapy (DBT) is designed to help people minimize the risk of self-harm. Both are evidence-based methods and can be applied in a trauma-focused fashion.

Other alternative treatment methods for treating PTSD include cognitive processing therapy (CPT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), and other peer group counseling modalities. A peer support group, for example, is where people may discuss problems with others who experienced similar trauma. There are also support groups for family members.

Raising Awareness

Although there are around eight to ten million people in the United States with PTSD, and even though PTSD treatment modalities are widely available, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of awareness. Many people are not getting the medical attention they need. In general, we can raise awareness about the health impact of trauma. 

The impact of PTSD can be long-lasting, but the healing process can also be rewarding. Not only can people reconnect with others, but they also get to reconnect with themselves and their past. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention provides trauma-informed care for people suffering from complex traumatic stress, including PTSD. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can last for a long time. Nobody can predict whether untreated PTSD may be a hidden time bomb for a person’s next mental health crisis. If you or your loved one displays symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, or withdrawal due to past trauma, it is most likely that these are PTSD conditions. You need to actively seek treatment. At Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention, we consider it important to treat the whole person, especially if that person wants to manage their symptoms long-term. Our experts can diagnose, treat, and care for people with PTSD. Call Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention at (866) 986-1481 for effective PTSD treatment today.