Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD may happen following exposure to a traumatic event. The causes for PTSD could be anything that puts the person in an unbearably stressful situation, especially one that causes or could have caused serious physical harm.
The symptoms of PTSD fall under several domains such as hyperarousal symptoms, hypervigilance symptoms, and avoidance symptoms. For example, patients who have flashbacks of the event, they tend to visualize the whole situation over and over again and often suffer high levels of anxiety and inability to concentrate during flashbacks. Severe emotional responses to normal, otherwise nonstressful situations can occur, with physical symptoms like palpitations, accelerated heart beat, sweating, tremors and panic attacks, accompanied by severe social anxiety. Patients with PTSD also may have insomnia or recurrent nightmares of the event, which adversely affects their quality of life as well. In some cases, PTSD patients block out the entire event or pieces of the event from their memory altogether.
Treatment of PTSD includes cognitive, multifactorial approach. PTSD is not a disease, it is a reaction to a stressful event and can be improved upon if not cured through the use of therapies such as Cognitive Processing Therapy Prolonged Exposure and EMDR. PTSD requires intensive therapy to get to the root of the traumatic event. How it affected the patient, how it could have otherwise affected the patient, the patient’s response, there are many things that we consider before deciding upon and starting a comprehensive treatment approach that will cover all bases. The treatment of PTSD may also involve medication management through SSRI or other antidepressant medications and adjunctive sleep medications. We have extensive experience in treating patients with PTSD as well as other overlapping anxiety and mood disorders. In most cases of PTSD, we would recommend trauma focused therapy by a licensed therapist who specializes in this area while medication management and brief psychotherapies can be managed by our psychiatrist.