Diagnosing and Managing PTSD

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is an unfortunately common mental health concern for many Americans. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 8 million adults will suffer PTSD in a given year. Furthermore, about 10 percent of women and four percent of men develop PTSD at some point in their lives. The prevalence of this condition means the health care system must find a way to accommodate the millions who suffer from their symptoms daily and develop effective treatments for this damaging mental health disorder.

If you aren’t sure if you or a loved one has PTSD, it helps to start from the basics to understand the causes and symptoms of PTSD so you can determine if mental health care is necessary.

Helplessness, triggers, avoidance, depression are all signs of PTSD and many suffer without even knowing it. One Community Health cares! Call today!

What Is PTSD?

Humans are equipped to constructively handle all manner of emotions, from pure joy to hatred and everything in between. Typically, our emotions are fueled by external events or forces that also influence how we handle feelings and similar events in the future. Usually, through experience, we become better able to cope with highly-stressful situations and more thoroughly process intense feelings. Unfortunately, PTSD can make it difficult for those who have struggled through negative situations in their lives to successfully process the emotions that accompany them.

PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop in an individual after a dangerous, frightful or otherwise traumatizing event, making it difficult for the brain to fully cope with the intense negative emotions the person experienced during the time of the event, like fear, anger, sorrow or panic. The symptoms of PTSD include:

  •    Flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive memories about the event 

  •    Avoiding situations or conversations about the event 

  •    Guilt or shame 

  •    Irritability 

  •    Depression 

  •    Wakefulness or hyperarousal 

  •    Jumpiness 

  •    Alcohol or drug abuse 

  •    Loss of interest in hobbies or activities 

People diagnosed with PTSD may sometimes develop other health concerns as a result, including substance abuse PTSD is difficult to cope with, but One Community Health in Sacramento, CA can help. and depression. These added symptoms and side effects often make PTSD difficult to diagnose. Because PTSD is such a uniquely personal disorder, it may even be hard for a sufferer to relate their experiences or connect with others who care for them out of fear of being invalidated, leading to isolation.

It is important to clarify that PTSD is not just temporary stress. Following a traumatizing event, people may feel nervous, have nightmares or experience other similar symptoms, but most cases fade as the brain successfully processes the event and their emotions. PTSD occurs when a sufferer cannot get rid of their symptoms weeks, months or years after the event, sustaining a constant fight-or-flight stress reaction triggered by events, places, people or memories relating to the event.

Who Develops PTSD?

Most people associate PTSD with military service members who have seen combat while deployed. While military members are indeed one of the populations most commonly affected by PTSD, the type of trauma that can cause PTSD is not relegated only to combat. Sufferers of PTSD can range in age from small children to the elderly who have experienced a variety of things, including, but not limited to:Triggers can happen in every day situations and learning to cope is essential to good health. One Community Health is here for you! Call today!

  •    Abuse

  •    Sexual or physical assault 

  •    Natural disasters 

  •    Accidents 

  •   Witnessing violence firsthand 

Although some traumas may seem more horrific than others, all PTSD is valid, and those who think they may be experiencing PTSD should not be afraid to seek help simply because their situation “isn’t as bad” as another person’s.

How Is PTSD Treated?

The two main types of PTSD treatment are psychotherapy and medication, though many sufferers decline to seek treatment with the hopes that their symptoms will eventually subside. Occasionally, these treatments may be combined. However, the type of treatment needed will depend on the patient’s goals and the severity of their symptoms.

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy or counseling, usually entails regular meetings with a specialized trauma therapist to accept the trauma and process emotions verbally, leading to a decrease in the frequency and severity of symptoms. The type of approach your therapist chooses for your therapy may vary.

  • Cognitive processing therapy helps you to discuss how the traumatic event shaped who you are, painting the trauma as a turning point in your life and allowing you to process negative emotion and replace it with more positive emotions for the future. The ultimate goal is acceptance of the event. 

  • Prolonged exposure therapy forces you to discuss the event at length, desensitizing you to the pain and helping you gain composure and control over your thoughts and feelings. The end goal is empowerment and control. 

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy focuses on discussing the event with particular attention to hand and eye movement or sounds as you speak. Focusing on inconsequential features helps your brain direct full attention to unprocessed emotions related to the event. The goal is relief from intrusive emotions and acceptance of the trauma. 

Medications may reduce the severity of symptoms day-to-day. Most doctors will prescribe antidepressants like sertraline, paroxetine and fluoxetine. Sufferers, especially those with a history of substance abuse due to their PTSD, should avoid taking certain antipsychotics as they could become addictive. Discuss your concerns with your doctor at length before taking any new medications.

 

Primary Care and Mental Health Services in Sacramento, CA

Your mental health should always be a priority. If you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD, there’s no time like the present to seek treatment and find relief from your symptoms. Unfortunately, many sufferers don’t know where to look for the right treatment. Why not receive mental health care where you get primary health care?

At One Community Health, we know the importance of mental health to overall bodily function. We employ highly-trained therapists and psychiatrists that can work with you to set goals for your mental health as well as develop a detailed treatment plan to help you feel better faster. We’re proud to provide the Sacramento community with low-cost, convenient and comprehensive care. Contact us online or call (916) 443-3299 to schedule an appointment today!

 

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Midtown Campus

1500 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

916 443-3299

fax 916 325-1984

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fax 916 325-1984

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