The Mayo Clinic says that anyone who has experienced something traumatic has the potential to develop post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in the aftermath. While most people tend to see improvement in symptoms with time and self care after a traumatic event, some may see a decline in function, which could mean that they have PTSD. The Mayo Clinic explains that getting the proper care may be essential to improving your lived experience and reduce your symptoms if you develop PTSD.
Experts tend to split symptoms related to PTSD into four distinct groups. These are:
- Signs of changes in physical and emotional reactions
- Signs of negative changes in thinking and mood
- Intrusive memories
Symptoms associated with changes in physical and emotional reactions could include:
- Constantly being on guard
- Difficulty sleeping
- Aggressive behaviors
- Being easily frightened or startled
- Self-destructive behavior, such as the overconsumption of alcohol
- Difficulty concentrating
- Experiencing overwhelming shame or guilt
Signs of negative changes in thinking and mood might include:
- Emotional numbness
- Feeling hopeless about the future
- Experiencing memory issues, including forgetting essential aspects of the traumatic event
- Feeling detached from loved ones
- A lack of interest in activities one once enjoyed
- Experiencing negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world at large
- Difficulty keeping close relationships with others
- Having a hard time experiencing positive emotions
Symptoms of intrusive memories could be:
- Disturbing nightmares or dreams about the traumatic event
- Undergoing severe physical reactions or emotional distress in response to something that is reminiscent of the traumatic event
- Experiencing recurrent, unwanted memories of the traumatic event that lead to feelings of distress
- Experiencing flashbacks in which the traumatic event is re-experienced
Symptoms associated with avoidance might involve:
- An individual avoiding people, places, and activities that remind them of the traumatic event
- Attempting to avoid discussing or even thinking about the traumatic event
And while PTSD can indeed disrupt your day to day life, it is important to remember that there are many different types of therapy that have been proven to be effective in a wide range of individuals. In the treatment of PTSD, the American Psychological Association lists four main types of therapeutic intervention that they recommend:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: rooted in the relationship among your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, cognitive behavioral therapy zeros in on current symptoms and issues. Furthermore, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on helping you change your behavioral patterns, as well as other feelings and thoughts that could make it difficult for you to function.
- Cognitive processing therapy: derived from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy’s goal is to help you learn how to challenge and change maladaptive beliefs you may hold related to your trauma.
- Cognitive therapy: born from cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy seeks to help you change the memories surrounding your trauma and the pessimistic evaluations you may associate with it. The underlying goal of cognitive therapy is to interrupt thought patterns and/or behaviors that disturb your ability to live your day to day life.
- Prolonged exposure: also a particular type of cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure seeks to help you gradually approach your feelings, memories, and specific situations related to your trauma. The goal of prolonged exposure is to help you face things you have been avoiding in the hopes that you will learn that your associations with those situations, feelings, and memories are not dangerous; there is no need to avoid them.
These types of therapies can be performed in individual or group settings. Here at Grouport, we offer group therapy that is conducted completely online. You can find the answers to FAQs here.