Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that is triggered by a terrifying event. This disorder is characterized by flashbacks, severe anxiety, nightmares, and uncontrollable thoughts related to this event that was either personally experienced or witnessed.
Most people who witness or experience a traumatic event may have temporary difficulty coping with fear and anxiety associated with the traumatic event. Still, within time and with healthy coping skills, these individuals will usually overcome their fear and anxiety. Posttraumatic stress disorder affects approximately eight to ten percent of individuals throughout their lifetime or 7.7 million American adults.
Treatment for PTSD revolves around reducing or eliminating the underlying triggers and stress associated with PTSD. This is a highly treatable mental health condition and is best done with a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and the development of healthy coping skills. Untreated PTSD can cause significant impairment in everyday life and can potentially result in worsening psychiatric conditions, self-harm behavior, and even suicidal ideations.
AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service treatment program that offers a wide range of “east meets west” treatment modalities for many different populations struggling with PTSD and other mental health and substance use disorders. We offer both intensive inpatient programs as well as outpatient treatment. AKUA Mind & Body works diligently with each client and their family to ensure that their PTSD treatment plan is specifically tailored to their needs, and not just their disorder.
Complex posttraumatic stress disorder, also known as CPTSD is similar to PTSD. Instead of witnessing or experiencing one traumatic event, the individual is exposed to repeated trauma over months or years.
Signs and symptoms of CPTSD include those of PTSD with some additional symptoms, which include the following:
Although many veterans may have posttraumatic stress disorder (approximately 30% of individuals who have spent time in combat develop PTSD), this diagnosis can affect anyone who undergoes or witnesses a traumatic experience. The following are traumatic experiences that have been associated with PTSD
Treatment for PTSD includes both medication management and psychotherapy approaches. It is important to identify and treat any co-occurring disorder associated with PTSD, as many individuals will turn to drug use and alcohol to mask their PTSD symptoms and are at higher risk of developing depression and anxiety.
The following are psychotherapy approaches used to help treat PTSD:
The goal of therapy is for the individual to be able to remember the trauma without the emotional charge that once accompanied the event. By separating the traumatic event from a wide range of negative emotions, the individual can live a healthier life without the intrusion of flashbacks, nightmares, fear, and distressing thoughts.