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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a traumatic event. In 2007, the Center for Health Military Research estimated more than 300,000 service members suffered from PTSD. As of 2016, the number has more than doubled. Although most supporting organizations focus on servicemen, PTSD has been diagnosed in victims of rape, automobile accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, assault, home invasions, house fires, and physical abuse. The more danger the person was in and the longer their exposure, the more likely they are to re-experience the event.

Focusing on a traumatic event during periods of restitution and recovery is normal. Reliving the trauma, distressing at recalling the event, experiencing flashbacks, and nightmares for a month or more are symptoms associated with PTSD. Signs include hallucinations, guilt, irritability, fright, anxiety, and anger. Although symptoms may not appear until months or years later, only 7-8% of trauma victims are diagnosed with PTSD. The mental health professionals of Improving Lives Counseling Services assess signs and diagnosis symptoms of emotional behavioral disorders displayed by trauma victims.

“Diagnostic criteria for PTSD include a history of exposure to a traumatic event that meets specific stipulations and symptoms from each of four symptom clusters: intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. The sixth criterion concerns duration of symptoms; the seventh assesses functioning; and, the eighth criterion clarifies symptoms as not attributable to a substance or co-occurring medical condition.”

Because the signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and panic disorder are similar to or can co-occur with PTSD, a thorough psychological evaluation is performed. Self-diagnosis or taking on-line self-tests can lead to false results and prolonged treatment, particularly in children. Symptoms in children can include retrogressing in development, unusual dependency, physical complaints, and risky behavior – many of which are symptoms of anxiety disorders. The counselors and therapists of Improving Lives Counseling Services diagnosis and treat anxiety, trauma, and stressor-related disorders.

PTSD is a distressing and incapacitating condition from which many fail to recover. Although it is normally diagnosed in patients who have displayed signs and symptoms for a month or more, early screening of service members, fire fighters, policemen, children, teens, and adults exposed to traumatic experiences has afforded a return to work, school, family, community, and a healthy functional life.

Don’t allow the term “disorder” prevent you or a loved one from receiving much needed treatment. Untreated PTSD and other stressor-related disorders can led to criminal activity, drug abuse, social isolation, depression, heart disease, self-mutilation, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Researchers found 80% of those diagnosed with PTSD are plagued by another disorder. Treatment of PTSD includes cognitive behavior therapy, talk-therapy, exposure therapy, eye-movement desensitization, medication, and support. Offering individual, couple’s, and group sessions, the counselors and therapists of Improving Lives Counseling Services develop treatment plans specific to each patient’s needs. Live the life you and your loved ones were meant to live. You’re not alone. Call us.