Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is the “gift” that keeps on giving. You may have been exposed to traumatic circumstances, whether you were in a war or grew up in an unstable environment.
This may lead to multiple problems, even many years later. Your mind remembers, and the body doesn’t forget. We’re just starting to learn about the far-ranging effects of trauma. The providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about how we diagnose and treat PTSD.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is typically thought of as a mental health condition affecting military veterans exposed to war. But it can affect others, too, even without military experience.
If you grow up in a dangerous neighborhood, were raped, have parents who deal with alcohol use or substance use disorders, or have suffered abuse yourself, you’re more likely to experience PTSD.
How we diagnose it
Sometimes, you may have buried the stressful event extremely deeply and don’t realize that it’s affecting you. We may need to do interviews with you to find out that it’s happened and that it’s still an issue.
Sometimes, certain behaviors are a good clue that you have PTSD, and they may include the following:
- Flashbacks of the event
- Anxiety, often unexplained or disproportionate to the situation
- Difficulty eating or sleeping
- Having “triggers” that remind you of the event
- Intrusive thoughts
If any of these apply to you, we’ll investigate further to help us arrive at the diagnosis of PTSD.
How we treat it
If you have PTSD, you may wonder if you can ever get help. You can, and you’re in the right place.
PTSD is nothing to feel ashamed of; it’s a normal reaction to abnormal situations. We’re not meant to cope with stressors of the magnitude you’re experiencing. In fact, about 7 out of 10 people have experienced similar traumatic events.
Methods we use to treat PTSD include the following:
If your PTSD has led to you using alcohol or other substances to cope, you may receive behavioral therapy.
Behavioral therapy helps you learn to change your behaviors that lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s provided in a supportive, non-threatening manner. We’ll look at your behaviors, their consequences, and your motivation to change.
We also do something called motivational interviewing. This may sound intimidating, but it shouldn’t. We take a full history of your reactions, identify situations that create triggers, and help you learn to react more slowly and deliberately when you encounter them.
Group therapy helps you resolve your issues with others who are experiencing similar situations. This is helpful for many people.
It’s okay if you want to hang back in the first few sessions and just observe. The goal of group therapy is to learn to trust others and benefit from sharing your experiences. Hearing that others have the same problems too is a great way to gain hope. Your fellow group members will understand what you’re dealing with, even if their individual issues are different.
Many people with PTSD need some form of medication to calm their nervous system. This is not a failure! You aren’t expected to handle so much on your own. Some of the medications we may use include the following:
- Mood stabilizers
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Antipsychotic medication
These medications don’t mean you’re “psychotic,” only that you need a little extra help. That’s okay!
If you’re suffering from experiences you had — even many years ago — it’s important to seek help. Call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center today, or request an appointment online. We’re ready to help you get your life back.