WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY...
I came into counseling when my mother died unexpectedly. It was like having the rug pulled out from under me. Suddenly, I did not know who I was any more. I had not realized how important my mother was to my own self-identity. I had a lot of crying to do, and I had a lot of questions to answer about what my own life was about. Bryan Austill at the Center led me through my grieving process and set me on the path of self discovery. Not an easy path, but I could not have done it without Bryan.
Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.
Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:
1. Repeated "reliving" of the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity
Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
Recurrent distressing memories of the event
Repeated dreams of the event
Physical reactions to situations that remind you of the traumatic event
Emotional "numbing", or feeling as though you don't care about anything
Feelings of detachment
Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
Lack of interest in normal activities
Less expression of moods
Staying away from places, people, or objects that remind you of the event
Sense of having no future
Exaggerated response to things that startle you
Excess awareness (hypervigilance)
Irritability or outbursts of anger
You also might feel a sense of guilt about the event (including "survivor guilt"), and the following symptoms, which are typical of anxiety, stress, and tension:
Agitation, or excitability
Feeling your heart beat in your chest (palpitations)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may occur soon after a major trauma, or it can be delayed for more than 6 months after the event. When it occurs soon after the trauma, it usually gets better after 3 months. However, some people have a longer-term form of PTSD, which can last for many years.
PTSD can occur at any age and can follow a natural disaster such as a flood or fire, or events such as war, a prison stay, assault, domestic abuse, or rape. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the U.S. may have caused PTSD in some people who were involved, in people who saw the disaster, and in people who lost relatives and friends. These kinds of events can produce stress in anyone, but not everyone develops PTSD.
The cause of PTSD is unknown, but psychological, genetic, physical, and social factors are involved. PTSD changes the body's response to stress. It affects the stress hormones and chemicals that carry information between the nerves (neurotransmitters). Having been exposed to trauma in the past may increase the risk of PTSD.
People with PTSD re-experience the event again and again in at least one of several ways. They may have frightening dreams and memories of the event, feel as though they are going through the experience again (flashbacks), or become very upset during anniversaries of the event.
Treatment aims to reduce symptoms by encouraging you to recall the event, express your feelings, and gain some sense of control over the experience. In some cases, expressing grief helps to complete the necessary mourning process. Support groups, where people who have had similar experiences can share their feelings, are very helpful.
Contact the Samaritan Counseling Center if you believe you or a loved one suffers from PTSD. Help is available.