Trauma / PTSD

Therapist in a session with a patient
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.

People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and flashbacks from the event that interferes with their daily functioning. They may relive the event, experience sadness or anger and feel detached from other people. It’s also common for these individuals to avoid people and situations that remind them of the event.

If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic event and your symptoms are not going away, it’s possible that you may have PTSD. Lotus Recovery treats trauma and stressor-related disorders in a comfortable and supportive setting. By seeking help early on, you can treat your symptoms and prevent the cycle of substance use.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that develops in some people after they witness or experience a traumatic event. The event may be life-threatening, or it may pose a threat to their physical, emotional or spiritual well-being. People who have PTSD have intense and intrusive thoughts and feelings related to the event, and they interfere with daily functioning.

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PTSD has been referred to by other names such as “shell shock” in World War I and “combat fatigue” in World War II. This has led some people to believe that PTSD only happens to combat veterans, but this is not the case. PTSD can happen to all people and at any age.

It’s estimated that between 61 to 80 percent of people experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, and PTSD develops in 5 to 10 percent of these cases. It’s unclear why people respond differently to trauma.

Examples of traumatic events include:

  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Sexual assault or abuse
  • Severe injury
  • Serious accidents
  • War and military combat
  • Natural disasters
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Bullying

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trauma is something that happens to most people at some point in their lives. However, it affects everyone differently. A PTSD diagnosis is made when symptoms persist for more than one month and cause significant distress or issues in your daily life. The symptoms of PTSD include:

Intrusion:

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks of the traumatic event

Avoidance:

  • Avoiding people, places and situations that remind you of the event
  • Avoiding thoughts associated with the event
  • Not wanting to talk about what happened or how you felt

Changes in thinking and mood:

  • Ongoing fear, anger, guilt or shame
  • Memory loss from the day of the event
  • Ongoing negative and distorted thoughts
  • Feeling detached from others
  • No longer enjoying the activities you once did
  • Being unable to experience positive emotions

Changes in reactivity:

  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Easily startled
  • Problems concentrating and sleeping

Complications of PTSD

If you are not recovering from trauma, it’s important to talk to a mental health professional, as PTSD can be treated. Without treatment, you may be more likely to engage in substance use to ease the pain, putting you at risk for developing a substance use disorder.

Furthermore, some conditions are more likely to occur in people with PTSD, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders and neurological disorders. These symptoms can make PTSD symptoms worse.

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Why Does PTSD Occur in Some People and Not Others?

People respond differently to trauma, and it’s unclear why. It’s believed that people who develop post-traumatic stress disorder may have abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters and hormones. Specifically, research shows that people with PTSD have normal to low levels of cortisol and elevated levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which increases the fight-or-flight response. There are also brain changes that are found in people with PTSD, including a decreased hippocampus, an overly active amygdala and a smaller and less responsive medial prefrontal cortex.

Trauma Treatment in Thousand Oaks

The symptoms of PTSD can be successfully managed, and by doing so, you can improve your quality of life and prevent substance use and other co-occurring disorders. The main treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy, especially forms of cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy focuses on changing painful negative emotions, such as shame or guilt, that have to do with the trauma.

Another way to treat PTSD is with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR involves moving your eyes a specific way while processing traumatic memories. Even though this therapy is relatively new, clinical trials show that it helps people heal and recover faster from trauma-related disorders.

Additional therapies that work well for PTSD are group therapy, prolonged exposure therapy and trauma-focused CBT. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat PTSD, but there are medications that may be able to help your symptoms, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Start Your Recovery at Our Trauma Treatment Center

Lotus Recovery gives special attention towards trauma and stressor-related disorders. We recognize the intricate link between these disorders and substance use, as some people turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their pain. Whether you are experiencing PTSD on its own or in addition to substance use, we can help. Recovery from trauma is possible, and on your journey, you will rediscover your love for life.