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Signs and Symptoms of PTSD 

Trauma Recovery ,PTSD


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition that occurs after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. It develops because of errors in the brain as it records and assigns meaning to the thoughts, emotions, and actions during the ordeal.

Any stimulus from sights, sounds, touch, smell, taste, or memory evokes a frightful and intense response because the brain’s faulty memory storage makes you think the trauma is recurring at that moment. PTSD is a tormenting condition and can severely ruin a person’s life.

Signs of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD include

  • Flashbacks – snippets of the traumatic event suddenly flood your mind at the present moment as vivid experiences
  • Intrusive memories – persistent and uncontrollable thoughts about the ordeal suddenly race through your mind evoking an intense anxiety response.
  • Nightmares – recurring nightmares about the ordeal awaken your fears, worries, and hopelessness and disturb your ability to sleep
  • Intense and prolonged distress similar to your reaction during the traumatic event
  • Deliberate avoidance of thoughts, feelings, recollection of the ordeal, and physical reminders
  • Inability to recall crucial aspects of the traumatic event
  • Distorted beliefs and conclusions about the ordeal, such as self-blaming and guilt
  • Intense negativity – an inability to experience positive emotions
  • Isolation – feelings of detachment and estrangement from others
  • Severe anxiety – your brain’s increased sensitivity and hyperarousal leave you perpetually anxious.
  • Hypervigilance – being in a state of high alert or on guard because you feel something bad is going to happen
  • Anger outbursts, aggression, and agitation
  • Poor concentration
  • Maladaptive behavior like drinking, promiscuity, and living life on the edge
Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD Treatment

You can get help for PTSD in therapy. Clinicians use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication to treat PTSD. CBT is an effective therapy for PTSD that includes several techniques to help align your thoughts to the traumatic event or experience. Examples of approaches used include

  • Exposure therapy – where the counseling psychologist gradually lets you encounter the ordeal in a safe and controlled environment to empower you to confront your fears.
  • Written exposure therapy – you get to recall the trauma through writing as the therapy guides and probes. The technique encourages introspection instead of avoidance and leads to a deeper understanding of the trauma and its impact on your thinking pattern, emotional cycles, memory, and feelings.
  • Cognitive processing therapy – helps you associate the trauma with your thoughts, emotions, and memories. It also sheds insights on the impact of the traumatic experience on your psychological well-being.
  • The counseling psychologist can choose to use psychoactive medication together with talk therapy for better treatment outcomes. Antidepressants adjust the chemical imbalance in your brain, sustaining negative moods. The resulting shift makes it easy to reorganize your neuron pathways through CBT techniques.

Coping with PTSD

Achieving mental health is a journey. Aside from PTSD treatment, here are positive coping mechanisms to help you manage symptoms.

  • Meditation – helps you calm down after hyperarousal or stimulation from intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and negative thoughts.
  • Journaling – write down your thoughts and feelings, then counter them with facts to avoid memory, emotion, and thought suppression.
  • Purposeful distraction – when the traumatic stressors come knocking, listen to uplifting music, go for a run, jog, or walk. Enjoy a picturesque scenery. Such activities release feel-good hormones that will help you relax.
  • Find support – a problem shared is a problem half solved. Talk to someone you can trust.
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With help, living with PTSD will get better!  Visit My Psychiatrist at out four convenient locations in South Miami, Hollywood, Oakland Park, Boca Raton, Florida or via Telemedicine.  

We are here to help.