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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since trauma affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Trauma disorders are categorized as mental disorders that include the experience of a traumatic or an extremely stressful event. Not everyone who suffers from trauma will develop a mental health condition, but for those who do can trace the cause directly back to the event. PTSD is a disorder that is triggered by a traumatic or frightening event that causes nightmares and flashbacks, as well as obsessive thoughts about the event. It causes fear and anxiety which can lead to:
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Isolation
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Anxiety
  • Avoidance 
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD symptoms can be categorized into four types: avoidance, intrusive memories, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary from person-to-person or over time.
Avoidance symptoms can include:
  • Avoiding places, people, or activities that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
Intrusive Memories
Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
  • Flashbacks (reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again)
  • Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the trauma
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions (triggers) to something that reminds you of the event
  • Unwanted, recurrent distressing memories of the traumatic event.
Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking
You may experience these changes in your thinking and mood:
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or society
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
  • Difficulty in expressing positive emotions
  • Feeling detached from friends or family
  • Hopelessness for the future
  • Memory problems, such as not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Lack of interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed
Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions
Also called arousal symptoms, changes in physical or emotional reactions may include:
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Easily startled or frightened
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt or shame
  • Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse, driving too fast, or drinking too much.
For children younger than 6 years of age, some signs and symptoms may include:
  • Scary dreams that may or may not include elements of the traumatic event
  • Re-enacting the traumatic event or aspects of it through play
Symptom Intensity
The above mentioned symptoms won’t happen to everyone with PTSD and they can vary in intensity over time. Stress may exacerbate the symptoms or when the traumatic event gets talked about, say through therapy. This is especially true for combat veterans that may react strongly to a car backfiring. Or, watching a movie where sexual assault is protrayed may trigger painful emotions and overwhelming feelings, if you were a victim of sexual assault youself.
PTSD Treatment
For some people dealing with PTSD, it has affected their life greatly. For severe symptoms, getting treatment from a recovery center may increase the chance for success in overcoming PTSD. In therapy, a customized program that includes holistic treatment and support will help someone with PTSD cope with the feelings the disorder has caused.