Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Symptoms typically include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and avoidance of situations related to the traumatic experience. PTSD can affect individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life. It is not limited to combat veterans or those in high-risk professions. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can be at risk for developing PTSD.
What can cause PTSD?
The key distinguishing factor of post-traumatic stress disorder is that it develops following a traumatic event. While not everyone who goes through a traumatic experience will develop PTSD, there are certain risk factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms. These include having a previous history of trauma or psychiatric disorders, experiencing intense or prolonged trauma, and having limited social support.
Common triggers of PTSD include experiencing or witnessing:
- Natural disasters
- Car accidents
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Violent crime
- The sudden death of a loved one
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD may include:
Flashbacks of the traumatic event
Nightmares about the traumatic event
Extreme anxiety or fear
Avoiding anything that reminds you of the traumatic event
Trouble remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Feeling emotionally numb or detached from people and events
Feeling irritable and angry
Many people exposed to a traumatic event may experience some of these symptoms, but in PTSD, these symptoms last for more than a month and cause significant distress. PTSD typically develops within 3 months of the traumatic event, but may occur later. Symptoms of other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can occur alongside PTSD. Working with a provider who understands the complexities of co-occurring disorders will help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
Treatment for PTSD
Trauma-focused therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, can help people confront distressing memories and use positive coping skills.
Medications, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are also used to treat depression and anxiety and can provide relief from the core symptoms of PTSD.
Find help for your PTSD symptoms
The experts at Geode Health can evaluate your unique symptoms and help determine a treatment plan that works for you. View our current locations to find a mental health facility near you, or schedule an appointment online to get started now.
If you are in crisis and in need of immediate support
Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741