Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disturbance brought on when someone experiences a terrifying, disturbing, or perilous event sometimes resulting in death of another and/or injury. PTSD can cause greatly decreased quality of life and effect relationships with others as those experiencing PTSD are effected over many of years from the trauma of past events.
The National Institute of Mental Health says this about PTSD: “Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people will recover from those symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are no longer in danger.”.
Common Risk Factors Among PTSD Sufferers
- They have survived a devastating event.
- The experience left the victim with physical and/or emotional injuries.
- The experience resulted in serious injury or the death of another person as witnessed by the survivor.
- The person has experienced childhood sexual or physical abuse.
- Feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
- The survivor often lacks a social network to tap into for support.
- Intense stress derived from pain and injury, death of a loved one, or loss of employment or place of residence after a traumatic experience.
- Personal or family history of mental illness or substance abuse which is secondary to the event.
Does PTSD Go Away?
PTSD can afflict anyone, from children as young as 6 to people well into adulthood. Unlike a minor cut or scratch on your finger, it won’t go away. PTSD is a mental disturbance that persists over the span of one’s life but can be managed and symptoms greatly decreased with a proper treatment plan.
People who have been diagnosed by a mental health professional with PTSD may have these symptoms in common:
- Symptoms of intrusive memories – unwanted, recurring, and distressing memories of trauma; flashbacks; nightmares; and extreme emotional responses brought on through reminders.
- Symptoms of avoidance – the person doesn’t want to talk or think about the trauma and avoids reminders that it happened.
- Symptoms of negative changes in mood and thinking – like negative thoughts about others, the world, and one’s self; a sense of futility; memory problems; inability to keep up with personal relationships; feelings of detachment; no longer interested in favorite pastimes; struggles to accept positive emotions; feeling of emotional coldness.
- Symptoms related to changes in physical and emotional reactions – the person is easily scared, startled, or surprised; waits for or antipates danger; disregards personal safety by taking on reckless activities; can’t focus mentally, trouble sleeping; crushing guilt or shame, especially among survivors of deadly events.
Related Health Issues
A common thread weaved inside symptoms of PTSD is that people diagnosed with it also suffer from related physical and mental health issues. Military veterans or first responders may have physical disabilities due to traumatic injury. PTSD seems to attract feelings of anger, depression, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, trouble sleeping, substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide. Each is treatable, doctors or medical and mental health professionals in specialized fields.
According to Dr. Harold Cohen, Ph.D., there are associated conditions occurring concurrently with PTSD including:
- Depression – feeling sad.
- Panic disorder – sudden, intense fear.
- Agoraphobia – fear of places or situations causing embarrassment.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder – Excessive thoughts leading to the same behavior repeatedly.
- Social phobia – the onset of anxiety caused by social events.
- Somatization disorder – causing multiple bodily symptoms such as pain.
Dr. Cohen also said, “Scientists are not sure to what extent these co-occurring disorders are present before — or come after the traumatic event and the development of PTSD.” But it is likely that they are symptoms or secondary responses of PTSD.
What Kind of Treatment is Available?
People experiencing PTSD aren’t meant to suffer, and the emotional and physical pain they experience isn’t deserved. The disorder can be treated in a variety of ways. Some treatment is self-applied, like positive thoughts, coping mechanisms, and dealing with related conditions as they arise. Finding a mental health counselor experienced in treating PTSD and in whom the person trusts and can talk honestly is important.
A mental health professional can help the person through different forms of psychotherapy or talking sessions. These include:
- Cognitive therapy – this is where the therapist talks to you and helps you identify patterns where you’re stuck in a loop of sadness or depression, and ways to get out of them.
- Exposure therapy – helps the person cope with frightening situations and memories, like flashbacks or nightmares.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – a combination of guided eye movements and exposure therapy, which help you deal with traumatic memories and how to process them.
Your therapist or doctor also may prescribe medication, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, Prazosin, or an innovative new treatment using ketamine which has been found to be particularly effective for suffers of PTSD.
What Else Can You Do?
Ketamine has been found to have profound and rapid relief of depression and anxiety and PTSD symptoms in most patients. VA hospitals across the country have successfully used ketamine treatment to provide rapid and often profound relief from PTSD. Ketamine works different than other medications used to treat PTSD. It actually re-grows cells in the brain and creates new, healthier pathways for brain circuits. Ketamine can provide powerful healing for those suffering from PTSD, especially when combined with therapy, EMDR, or other treatments.
Our practice is experienced in working with individuals who suffer from PTSD. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the benefits of Ketamine infusion therapy please give us a call and schedule a free discovery consultation. We care, we can help.