Understanding PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
PTSD is triggered when someone experiences a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event.
While it’s normal to have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping after a traumatic event, most people get better with time, good support and self-care. However, if symptoms get worse, last for months or years and interfere with everyday tasks and functioning, it is possible you have PTSD. Seeking treatment after these symptoms develop can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. At Valley, we understand PTSD and how to treat this exhausting disorder. We look forward to meeting and working with you on your journey.
Facts & Figures
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Averages & Statistics
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?
PTSD symptoms may start within a month of the traumatic event but sometimes do not appear until years later. Symptoms cause significant issues in work, social situations, and other relationships. They can interfere with one’s ability to complete normal daily tasks. These symptoms are grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional responses. Symptoms vary from person to person and can change over time.
Recurring, unwanted and distressing memories of the traumatic event. Dreams and nightmares about the event. Flashbacks: reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to “triggers” or something that reminds you of the event.
Avoiding talking about the event. Avoiding people, places, and things that remind you of the event.
Negative Changes in Mood/Thinking
Negative thoughts. Hopelessness. Feeling numb. Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed.
Changes in Physical/Emotional Reactions
Being easily startled and always on guard. Destructive behaviors such as eating or drinking too much. Trouble sleeping. Difficulty concentrating.
How is Valley Treating PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)?
Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a normal part of healthy living. At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client who walks through our doors is assessed holistically and cared for comprehensively within a solution-focused approach.
We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:
Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.
At Valley, we offer FDA approved psychiatric medication as part of our comprehensive treatment plan. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained medical professional (e.g., psychiatrist, nurse practitioner) within a broad scope of long-term care.
Research shows that counseling within a group setting is just as effective, sometimes even more so, as individual care. At Valley, we are proud to provide robust and interactive care groups led by trained clinicians. These empowering spaces have proven to be an invaluable resource for learning coping skills, feeling acceptance, and avoiding social isolation.
While every client needs to be individually motivated to seek treatment, one of the largest factors in successful treatment is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.
Complementary & Alternative Treatments
Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity
Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.
With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder):
- Rhodiola Rosea: Dozens of clinical studies have been performed on the adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola (arctic root or golden root) verifying its potential to promote health. It can increase serotonin in the midbrain and hypothalamus.
- Kava Kava: At least one study has determined that extracts of kava have anti-anxiety and antidepressant benefits.
- Acupuncture: While more studies are needed, at least one published study suggests acupuncture can be effective in treating the symptoms of PTSD.
- St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum): evidence supports the use of Hypericum perforatum for anxiety, therefore, having the potential to aid in treating PTSD.
Exercise is generally categorized as aerobic (running or walking), resistance (weight training), or mindfulness-based (yoga or tai chi). Exercise is known to improve cognitive mechanisms due to a diversion from negative thinking, social contact, and feelings of control over one’s health. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity that you enjoy.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important for both your physical and mental well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what they can do to help.
Calming techniques can’t cure PTSD, but they may help you manage your symptoms and be a valuable part of your treatment plan. Several alternative treatments aim to reduce anxiety and stress. These treatments include:
- massage therapy
Videos & Podcasts
Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web
Great Resources on PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
By Bessel van der Kolk
The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole
By Arielle Schwartz
Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing
By David A. Treleaven
Meditation Interventions to Rewire the Brain: Integrating Neuroscience Strategies for ADHD, Anxiety, Depression & PTSD
By Jeff Tarrant
When Someone You Love Suffers from Posttraumatic Stress: What to Expect and What You Can Do
By Claudia Zayfert & Jason C. DeViva
The Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Workbook for PTSD: Overcome Fear and Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life
By Matthew T Tull PhD, Kim L. Gratz PhD, Alexander L. Chapman PhD RPsych
Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse
By Lisa M. Najavits
Trauma, PTSD, Grief & Loss
By Michael Dubi, Patrick Powell, Eric Gentry
Behavioral Activation for PTSD: A Workbook for Men: Reduce Anxiety and Take Charge of Your Life
By Lisa Campbell, Karie A. Kermath
Once a Warrior--Always a Warrior: Navigating The Transition From Combat to Home--Including Combat Stress, PTSD, And MTBI
By Charles Hoge
Research and Resources
Great Articles & Resources on PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
A review of promising emerging evidence The personal, social and economic burden of human suffering, treatment costs, disability compensation, and productivity losses related to PTSD are major issues facing American society broadly. After decades of research there is still no consensus on the causes, nature or treatment of the psychological and psychosomatic consequences of trauma. Many therapies used …
Different meditation and mind-body practices may be equally effective. This post is offered as a concise review of the evidence for meditation and mind-body practices in PTSD. Future posts will review the evidence for select natural supplements, biofeedback, eye movement desensitization and reprogramming (EMDR), virtual reality graded exposure therapy (VRGET), and ‘energetic’ therapies. Limitations of conventional treatments of PTSD invite non-pharma …
People who ran prior to therapy reported fewer symptoms compared to those who underwent therapy alone. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, is published in the April-June issue of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Runner’s World included the unpublished results from this research in a March 2014 feature on the soldiers and researchers using running to combat …
Successful treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often involves lifestyle changes. For many people with PTSD, taking steps to make thoughtful, healthy choices every day can help reduce symptoms and improve the overall quality of life. Exercise Regularly Talk to your health care provider before beginning an exercise program. Moderate physical activity—30 minutes on most days of the week—can improve health …