Have you experienced a traumatic event? Are you suffering from lingering fear and anxiety? Do you feel like you no longer have any control over how you think, feel, and behave?
Posttraumatic stress disorder - also known as PTSD - is a mental health challenge that may occur in individuals who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a terrorist act, an act of war, a serious accident, rape, or any other violent personal assault.
It is believed that PTSD affects nearly four percent of the U.S. adult population. While it is usually linked with veterans who’ve experienced combat, PTSD occurs in all people regardless of age, race, nationality, or culture. Women are twice as likely to experience PTSD than men.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
People with PTSD often experience intense thoughts and feelings related to their traumatic experiences. These can last for a long time after the initial event. Many people with PTSD also relive the event through flashbacks and nightmares.
People with PTSD often feel intense emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and detachment from friends, family, and community members. They often avoid people and situations that remind them of the traumatic event. Ordinary sounds or incidents such as a door banging or accidental touch in a crowd may cause a strong and uncontrollable reaction.
How Can Treatment Help?
There are several therapeutic techniques available to address PTSD, and recent findings point to the effectiveness of four specific modalities:
- Somatic Experiencing (SE) - Developed by Dr. Peter Levine, this approach is grounded in the understanding that trauma affects the body's natural ability to regulate itself. SE helps individuals reconnect with their physical sensations and restore the body’s natural balance, facilitating trauma release and healing.
- Internal Family Systems (IFS) - This therapeutic approach, founded by Dr. Richard Schwartz, views the mind as consisting of multiple "parts" or "sub-personalities." In treating PTSD, IFS guides individuals to access their core Self and heal the traumatized parts, fostering internal harmony.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) - ACT focuses on helping individuals accept their reactions and be present, choose a valued direction, and take action. For those with PTSD, ACT can offer tools to live a fulfilling life despite trauma-related symptoms.
- EMDR - Standing for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, this technique uses bilateral sensory input, like side-to-side eye movements, to stimulate the brain to process challenging memories, thoughts, and emotions linked to trauma.
If you or a loved one suffer from PTSD and would like to explore treatment options, please reach out to me. I have personally seen profound transformation through therapy and want to offer the help you need to enjoy life again.