Approximately 8% of Americans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point during their lives. If you’ve experienced a traumatic event and are living with long-lasting symptoms such as flashbacks, Anthony Freire, MA, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, Kelley Hershman, LMHC, and Kate Engstrom, LCSW, lead a team of mental health experts who treat PTSD at the Soho Center For Mental Health Counseling in Greenwich Village of New York City. Call or schedule an appointment online today.
PTSD is a form of anxiety that develops after you witness or experience a traumatic event, such as a serious accident, violent personal assault, rape, combat, or a terrorist act. PTSD causes your memories of that event to become intrusive and uncontrollable. They create intense and disturbing thoughts, feelings, and memories long after the trauma ends. Those thoughts and emotions ultimately disrupt your ability to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
Anyone can develop PTSD. It’s also important to remember that trauma is relative and that everyone has a unique response. You may have a shared experience with others, but they may not respond the same way that you do.
PTSD causes four categories of symptoms including intrusive thoughts, avoidance, negative thoughts and feelings, and arousal.
Intrusive thoughts are repeated, involuntary, and may present as daytime memories or flashbacks and nightmares while you’re sleeping. Flashbacks and nightmares are often so vivid that you feel like you’re reliving your trauma.
If you stay away from places, people, and situations that trigger your memories and intrusive thoughts, you are displaying avoidance behaviors. You may also refuse to talk about the event and try to suppress your thoughts and feelings.
Negative thoughts or feelings are a common PTSD symptom. You develop distorted and negative beliefs about yourself and others. You may also have persistent anger, shame, guilt, or fear. It’s also common to have decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities and to detach from your friends and family.
Arousal symptoms include increased irritability, feeling on edge, or angry outbursts. You may also be easily startled or have trouble falling or staying asleep.
After your initial assessment, your clinician creates a customized treatment plan that may include therapy, stress management techniques, and medication. Your therapist may also suggest eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
EMDR is a specific form of psychotherapy that helps you to reprocess your memories of the traumatic event so that you have more control over how and when you have them, which allows you to recover more quickly than with traditional psychotherapy.
If you want to know more about EMDR and other therapies for PTSD, schedule an appointment with the experts at the Soho Center For Mental Health Counseling & Clinical Supervision by calling the practice or booking online.