Trauma is a normal psychological reaction to abnormal events. In fact, most of us will experience some type of traumatic event in our lifetime. For most people, symptoms go away on their own. However, if your trauma symptoms have persisted for months or years, you may want to be evaluated for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The symptoms of PTSD are grouped into a four main clusters: re-experiencing, avoidance, changes in mood or thinking, and increased arousal. Flashbacks, nightmares, and recurring and unwanted memories of the trauma are all forms of re-experiencing. Avoidance behaviors include avoiding thinking about, talking about, or going places that remind you of the traumatic experience. Avoiding going to sleep is common, so people with PTSD often report poor sleep. Changes in mood or thinking also occur in PTSD. Examples can include increased irritability, anxiety, or depression since the traumatic event. Lastly, individuals living with PTSD often report feeling on edge, constantly on guard, or being easily startled.
Importantly, several therapies have been shown to effectively treat PTSD. For instance, Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy has extensive research backing. It is also my preferred method of treating PTSD. If you live with PTSD and would like to treat it, call me today so we can discuss your options.