Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Have you experienced or witnessed a terrifying event?
- Do you have flashbacks of the event, nightmares, severe anxiety, and a persistent feeling of fear?
- Did the event negatively change your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about yourself?
- Do you avoid anything that reminds you of the terrifying event?
- Do you feel deep down that you’ll never be the same?
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years later. Common symptoms fall into four categories:
- Inability to screen out sounds, images, and memories in the form of flashbacks associated with the trauma.
- Avoidance of anything that reminds the person of the trauma.
- Negative thoughts, beliefs, and mood associated with the traumatic event (ie. inability to remember parts of the trauma; diminished interest in things; feeling detached from others).
- Pervasive fear that causes physical arousal and reactivity (ie. difficulty falling or staying asleep; hypervigilance; exaggerated startle response; irritability; reckless, self-destructive behavior).
In addition, feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame pollute the atmosphere of your life.
People with PTSD can be very hard on themselves. They often can’t shake the following beliefs, even though they have plenty of evidence to the contrary. PTSD leaves them feeling:
- Never good enough or not enough
- Defective or permanently damaged
- Unable to trust others or themselves
- Unable to handle things
Therapies for the treatment of PTSD will:
- Transform traumatic memories into neutral events that become part of your past history.
- Desensitize you to the fight, flight, or freeze response.
- Reverse the negative beliefs about yourself that formed during the traumatic event and replace them with updated, positive cognitions.
- Help you climb down out of your head and reconnect with your body.
- Teach you how to soothe yourself when traumatized parts get activated.
- Resolve the guilt, shame, and self-blame that is part of the traumatic response.