Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment
PTSD treatment at Twin Rivers focuses on recognising and learning to manage the emotional and physical symptoms created by past trauma and help the client to empower themselves and not become a victim. There is a wide range of treatment available, which includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, taking medication, psychotherapy, mindfulness and other stress relieving strategies and techniques. This holistic approach enhances the treatment efficiency and helps the client to cope better with the emotions associated with the traumatic event.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health issue caused by scaring, terrifying, shocking, or dangerous events. Either it is triggered due to experiencing frightening situations or witnessing them, it can heavily impact mental wellbeing, causing nightmares, anxiety, and other more severe symptoms. Post-traumatic stress disorder is estimated to occur in 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience.
It is completely natural for humans to be afraid during and after experiencing an intimidating and fearful event. Fear is a typical reaction to the danger, that helps with defending and avoiding the damaging accident. Everyone who has ever experienced trauma faced the negative effects after it. Although most people have the ability to go through overwhelming emotions and get over the trauma fast naturally, there is a group of people who may have difficulty coping with recurring emotions and adjusting to normal life after the trauma. If this state remains for months or even years, harming a person’s mental health, it is a clear sign that you should see a trauma specialist.
David Briskham +27(0)828 633 159-Clinical Director
Richard Saunders +27(0)722 789 193-Head of Treatment
PTSD Signs and Symptoms
If any signs of PTSD occur, it usually happens within 3 months of experiencing a traumatic event. The symptoms need to last more than a month and be severe to be considered as post-traumatic stress disorder. Typically, people with this issue recover within 6 months. Yet, others with higher emotional vulnerability may struggle with the symptoms much longer.
The most common post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are:
• Nightmares of the traumatic event or other frightening fantasies
• Imagining and reliving the trauma all over again with intense feelings
• Frightening and disabling thoughts
• Extreme psychical reactions such as sweating, pounding heart, stomach aches, dizziness, and chest pains
• Loss of interest in daily activities and hobbies-lethargic
• Having a negative outlook for the future-sense of hopelessness
• Upsetting memories of the traumatic moment
• Suddenly triggered by unrecognised present-day experiences
• Difficulty with discussing some significant aspects of the traumatic event
People with PTSD usually cannot get the trauma out of their heads for an exceptionally long time. They may also feel like they are losing their minds. Experiencing all the emotions from the horrifying event repeatedly can contribute to panic attacks, which may lead to developing other severe mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, phobias, and numerous addiction disorders.
To avoid the recurring symptoms of PTSD, it is critical to stay away from places that have caused the trauma as well as evading the objects that might associate with it. Some people even had to change their daily routines not to get constantly reminded of the situations that caused bad memories. For example, people who had a serious car accident may refuse to drive or ride in a car and someone who was sexually harassed may not want to have sex and may develop trust issues in the future.
Who Gets Affected by PTSD?
PTSD can affect children as well as adults. It can be developed because of traumatic events in the work environment (harassment)-job loss or demotion, childhood abuse, domestic violence, physical or sexual assault, loss of a loved one, bullying and verbal abuse, rejection/abandonment and the impact of wartime and pandemics can be severe for all social groups.
Individuals with a lack of family support (dysfunctional family dynamic) and profound mental health problems like depression or anxiety are especially susceptible to having severe effects after experiencing a traumatic event. Also, those who have family members with a mental health disorder may have an increased risk of developing PTSD in the future.
Why PTSD Occurs?
While it is not exactly known why some people are more prone to developing PTSD than others, there are a couple of suggestions that may explain why this condition does occur. It is mostly justified by a human survival mechanism whose purpose is to protect a person from dangerous experiences, but we are all unique and respond differently to stressors. Constant flashbacks of trauma may help with developing a different reaction to a traumatic event in the future, perhaps less intense!
People with post-traumatic stress disorder also have an abnormally high level of adrenaline in their bodies, even in moments when there is no perceived danger. Additionally, researches show that one part of the brain which is responsible for memory and emotions is usually smaller for individuals with PTSD which may be related to amplified fear, anxiety, and overall response to traumatic events.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process