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Anyone dealing with or who has a loved one living with post-traumatic stress disorder knows how much physical and emotional pain PTSD symptoms can inflict, not only on the victim but also on friends and family.

 

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that has become commonplace in the USA today. It is estimated that at least 8% of Americans, 24.4 million people, will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. Despite being so widespread, not many people can access the help needed to recover from the lingering effects of the trauma at the root of this illness. Millions of Americans continue to suffer in silence- the social stigma of seeking help for mental illness still rears its ugly head.

 

PTSD is no respecter of age, sex, social status, or race. Anyone who has at any point in their lives been exposed to a life-threatening or traumatic event can suffer from PTSD.

 

Causes of PTSD

Right from the definition- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- it is obvious that experiencing trauma is the cause of this debilitating disorder. The most commonly associated trauma is that of experiencing warfare- understandable, since a significant portion of Armed Forces Veterans return from deployment exhibiting telltale signs of PTSD.

 

However, exposure to any type of trauma can cause an onset of PTSD. Experiencing any one of these traumatic events can cause post-traumatic stress disorder:

 

  •       Physical Violence
  •       Accidents: Automobile, Air, Sea
  •       Child Abuse and Neglect
  •       Sexual Assaults and Abuse
  •       Witnessing Death
  •       Living in War
  •       Natural or Man-made Disasters
  •       Military Service

 

These are some of the most common causes of PTSD. In some cases having someone, you love to experience one of these traumatic experiences can trigger PTSD symptoms for you. Having a loved one experience a fatal car crash, for instance, can lead to the development of PTSD in an otherwise healthy individual. Emergency response personnel- first responders, like policemen, fire service, and paramedics, can develop PTSD as a coping mechanism to the traumatic events they may have witnessed over the course of their service.

 

People with preexisting mental disorders like anxiety and depression may be more predisposed to developing PTSD after experiencing trauma. The importance of seeking help cannot be overemphasized, treating existing mental illnesses can reduce your risks of developing PTSD in response to traumatic events.

 

PTSD Triggers and Symptoms

 

The symptoms of PTSD can be triggered by even the most mundane of stimuli. Smells, sounds, and physical sensations with even a remote correlation or link to the traumatic experience can lead to an outbreak of the physical and emotional symptoms of PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD can be life-changing, affecting not only your life but also that of people you care about.

 

The following are some of the most commonly experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder:

 

  •       Flashbacks and Reliving Events: Experiencing constant flashbacks to the traumatic events are one of the most common symptoms of having PTSD. These flashbacks constantly keep your body’s adrenaline levels up by implication raising your stress levels and leaving you in a constant state of fight or flight. You may also have trouble moving on from the events constantly dwelling on the events and circumstances surrounding it.

 

  •       Avoidance: You consciously avoid things, places, or people that have to remind you of the trauma you experienced.

 

  •       Emotional Numbness and Indifference: Loss of interest in activities that had you excited in the past. You may also lose emotional attachments or responses to events around you.

 

  •       Panic Attacks: Experiencing intense episodes of fear and dread, all accompanied by physical symptoms like elevated heartbeats, profuse sweating, and numbness in arms and legs.

 

  •       Depression: A prolonged feeling of sadness, anxiety, and despair. This goes beyond occasional sadness.

 

  •       Night Terrors: Episodes of intense feelings and sensations of dread, during a half-awake state. Sweating, screaming, and restlessness is also common symptoms.

 

  •       Insomnia: Being unable to fall asleep at night. Or having recurrent nightmares related to your trauma.

 

  •       Physical Symptoms: Sweating, persistent headaches, muscular tension and cramps, gastrointestinal problems, and feeling a tightness in the chest.

 

  •       Substance Abuse: Drug addictions and alcoholism may be used to numb the memories of such trauma.



Treating PTSD

Treating PTSD can help you regain control of your life by helping you develop healthy coping mechanisms for the trauma you may have experienced. The goal of PTSD treatment is to help you manage the symptoms allowing you live a life relatively unhindered by the emotional and physical symptoms.

 

Treating PTSD is usually done using therapy or medication. However, there are multiple variants of therapy, each with a different technique and suitable for different individuals. It is best to contact a licensed medical practitioner to be properly diagnosed and create an effective treatment plan. Your symptoms, as well as your physical and mental condition, will be assessed to help you on the road to recovery from PTSD.

 

Your options for PTSD treatment are:

 

  •       Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is an effective treatment plan for post-traumatic stress disorder. It is usually the first course of action recommended by practitioners due to its effectiveness. However, you may have to combine therapy as well as prescription medications depending on your circumstances.

 

Visit our Los Angeles psychotherapy facility to discuss with an experienced licensed therapist and decide on what form of therapy will yield the best results for you. Here are the most commonly used forms of psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD.

 

  1.     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of therapy that is focused on helping you manage your thoughts and by extension, your life. Your therapist will help you identify harmful thought patterns that cause you to continuously relive or dwell on the trauma of your past. CBT goes beyond just the therapy sessions- over the course of treatment, you will develop skills to help you manage your symptoms and cope with PTSD triggers.

  •       CBT includes Exposure Therapy. This involves confrontation with triggers and scenarios that cause disproportionate amounts of fear. Exposure therapy allows you to control your reaction to triggers which includes memories, sounds, and images that remind you of the trauma.

 

  •       Cognitive Restructuring Is another component aspect of CBT. PTSD sufferers have trouble recollecting exact facts from the traumatic event. This leads to many victims blaming themselves and continually thinking they contributed to such traumatic events. The cognitive restructuring will help you sift through bad memories and eliminate lingering feelings of guilt and shame that may weigh them down.

 

  •        A stimuli-based type of CBT is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EDMR). While concentrating on sounds or an object in a back and forth motion you are asked to think about traumatic memories. The goal of this treatment is to help you attach more positive emotions to your traumatic memories.

 

  •       Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) helps you retool your management of the trauma induced stress. SIT includes the development of coping mechanisms to negate the negative impacts of PTSD symptoms.

 

  •       Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) is another very effective form of CBT treatments for PTSD. During PET, you confront your trauma either by speaking about it or exposure to objects, sounds, and other stimuli that may trigger such feelings of distress and fear. The goal of PET is to remove your subconscious association of harmless and safe stimuli like objects, sounds, smells and images from the trauma you experienced.

 

CBT is a proven treatment plan, having the most success among PTSD sufferers. Sessions last between 12-16 weeks.

 

  1.     Group Therapy

Group therapy as a form of PTSD treatment involves the communal experience of a support group. You may or may not be required to share memories from the traumatic incidence. The presence of other people sharing your pain and experiences can be very therapeutic and healing. During sessions coping mechanisms and stress management skills are taught to participants, helping them manage the debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

 

  •       Medications

Medications may be prescribed alongside psychotherapy to help you effectively manage the symptoms of PTSD. One of the main causes of PTSD is the chemical imbalance in the brains of victims. Certain medication can help normalize the distorted neurotransmitters imbalance in the brain, allowing a reduction in the production of adrenaline and the stress hormone- cortisol.

Prescription medications for PTSD will help your body normalize its response to triggers, lessening the usual extreme arousal to bad memories. With the right drugs, you will notice a reduction in physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, night terrors, recurring flashbacks, and depression.

 

The FDA approved medications used for the treatment of PTSD are:

  •       Paroxetine (Paxil)
  •       Sertraline (Zoloft)

 

However, the following drugs have also been shown to be effective as of label treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder. Only through consultation with a licensed therapist, psychologist or mental health professional can help you discover the most effective treatment option for you.

 

  •       Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  •       Fluoxetine(Prozac)
  •       Antidepressants
  •       Beta-blockers
  •       Antianxiety Medication: Benzodiazepines

 

The risk of drug abuse is elevated with the use of these drugs and self-medication can prove to be dangerous. Speak to a therapist, Los Angeles based today for proper diagnosis, consultations, and prescription of PTSD medication.

 

Treatment with medication may focus on other underlying mental disorders exacerbating your response to trauma like chronic depression and anxiety. By tackling these underlying issues, you are well positioned to benefit from other treatment plans focused directly on your PTSD like psychotherapy.

 

Do not self-medicate or abruptly stop your medications as the risk of addiction and drug withdrawals are particularly severe. Your treatment may last up to a year with medications and at the end of your treatment plan, your therapist will help you taper off your medication to prevent withdrawals. If you feel your medication is not effective, speak to a therapist, and he or she will help you safely switch to a different medication without adverse effects.

 

PTSD Recovery

You may feel like there is no way to heal or recover from the trauma and recurrent symptoms of your PTSD, however, this is not the case.

 

The first stage of recovery is realizing that you need help and if you are reading this, you probably already have. The symptoms of PTSD can greatly affect your life, leaving you vulnerable and liable to relive traumatic events even with a minor trigger. After identifying your symptoms you then need to seek out help and support.

 

Although it may be impossible to eliminate all traces of the past trauma, you can effectively reduce the negative hold it has on your life. With the treatment options available- psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both- you can manage the intrusive physical and emotional reactions to triggers; retrain how your mind responds to negative thoughts or memories from such an event; and embark on self healing, ridding yourself of the blame and guilt you have carried over the event.

 

PTSD, like all mental disorders, is an illness. And illnesses can be treated, to make you better. While it is admittedly difficult to seek out help especially with the fearful symptoms of PTSD, our clinicians at Family Time Centers are well suited to make your recovery experience as personalized and comfortable as possible for you.

 

Family Time Centers in Los Angeles psychotherapy organization committed to helping you and your loved ones get their lives back on track after suffering from trauma. Our clinicians are experienced, licensed, and well versed in not only mental health but also interpersonal interaction. Reach out today to begin your healing process and start recovering from the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

Do not lose hope or suffer internally with the symptoms of PTSD there are people, support groups, and professionals who are interested in pulling you out of the seemingly endless cycle of trauma. Recovery is a long-term process to be ready to commit wholly to your treatment plan and does not despair over the results in the short-term. Ultimately, you will notice a vast improvement in your overall life.

 

It is possible to heal from PTSD, so reach out today.

 

There has been a steady increase in the number of Americans seeking help for mental health issues recently. However, there is still so much left to be done. Psychotherapy, for example, is an effective treatment plan for a lot of mental disorders, with a significant amount of people seeking depression therapy. The social stigma, institutionalized roadblocks and the pressure of family and friends has kept many people away from much-needed help.

Psychotherapy seeks to treat individuals, helping them overcome certain negative behavior, impulses, and addiction, using personal interaction rather than medications. Psychotherapy has been proven to be as effective as medication and even more potent in the treatment of disorders like depression and anxiety. The focus of psychotherapy is to affect the brain in the areas that influence a person’s beliefs, emotions, thoughts, and compulsions. By effecting changes in these regions of the brain, a general improvement can be noticed before the therapy runs its course. Therapy plays a huge role in repairing damaged relationships, building self-esteem, overcoming suicidal and depressive thoughts, as well as improving social skills.

Picking the right therapist is vital for anyone seeking professional help. Your choice of therapist can define your path to recovery, so it should be done diligently. No matter what disorder you have been diagnosed with or you suspect you have, a therapist will help you understand, and ideally, help you get better.

The patient-therapist relationship plays a significant role in the course of psychotherapy. There must be a mutual understanding and respect, a form of chemistry between both, for the process to be optimally effective. The following are some steps to consider when choosing a therapist for yourself or your loved ones.

·       Determine Why You Need Help

What exactly are you feeling? Do you need depression therapy or OCD therapy? Do you find it hard to control your anger and you are looking for some sort of anger therapy or management procedure? Do you feel off all the time, with little motivation, unable to maintain a healthy relationship? Do you have irrational fears and are constantly bombarded by negative thoughts? If you have some sort of addiction, which is not restricted to drugs or alcohol- any activity that has consumed, having a negative influence on your life is an addiction. Suicidal thoughts, feelings of being unloved, long-term sadness and unhappiness are all symptoms that should be flagged as warning signs. If you or your loved ones are dealing with the grief of any nature, PTSD or the onset of a serious, life-altering illness, you should seek help.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a prescription or a diagnosis to speak to a psychotherapist. If you ever feel like you need to talk to someone, contact a therapist, they are always available to consider your case and determine the proper course of action.

·       Finding A Suitable Therapist

You can find a therapist through a referral from a licensed doctor, asking for recommendations or by searching for reputable therapists on the internet. You can confirm their listed qualifications, expertise, and certifications on their websites and profiles on the state license board.

It is important to choose a therapist that you are comfortable around and puts you at ease. The relationship between you and your therapist is cordial, at the very least mutually respectful. You should be able to speak openly without any sort of bias, restrictions, or fear of judgments. Your choice of therapist can be according to your preferences, with regards to age, sex, race and other factors. You and your therapist will have to develop an understanding for the treatment to work effectively.

After picking a therapist you should inquire about his or her methods of therapy. An explanation of their process may help you prepare adequately for what is to come and ascertain whether or not it is right for you.

Types of Therapy

The field of psychology and psychotherapy is vast, with many different approaches all towards the same goal- your well-being. Therapists are experienced in different methods of therapy, reaching having its peculiar process and methodology. While most therapists may have a broad and general understanding of these different classes of therapy, there are some who are certified as having a much more expansive knowledge and practice in that particular field.

The different types of therapy available to patients are as follows:

1.     Counseling

Counseling can be done by social workers, general practitioners, and licensed psychologists. It is usually done to tackle recent issues that have manifested in a person’s life. A person seeking counseling may not necessarily have any signs or suffer from any mental disorders. He or she may just need help adjusting to a sudden, impactful event in their lives.

Counseling may be sought after the death of a loved one, loss of employment, relationship problems, accidents, diagnosis of a major illness and as a form of anger therapy. Counseling is usually done at the request of the patient and is not a fixed routine, unlike the other forms of therapy available.

2.     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A combinational of behavior therapy and cognitive therapy, CBT aims to treat mental disorders by retraining an individual’s thought process. By teaching a person to change his negative pattern of thinking and replacing them with a more positive and upbeat pattern, you are rewiring the entire functioning of your brain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is focused on changing events occurring in the present, rather than digging into past or repressed memories.

The fundamental principle of CBT is that your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and feelings all have a significant effect on your entire being. By changing the way you think, your core beliefs about yourself and the world, the way you respond to events around you and how you deal with pain, you can successfully reduce and potentially eliminate the disorder you suffer from. CBT involves a number of techniques, which may include exercises and self-reassuring, biofeedback, distracting yourself when negative thoughts begin to form and relaxation as a viable coping strategy.

CBT is evidence-based, meaning it has been tested and proven effective for treatment of different mental disorders. The use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of the following disorders either as a sole treatment plan or in combination with medications.

·       Anxiety Disorders

·       Body Dysmorphic Disorder

·       Depression

·       Eating Disorders

·       Personality Disorders

·       Psychosis

·       Schizophrenia

·       Impulse Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

·       OCD Therapy for Children and Adolescents

·       Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The goal of CBT is to help patients develop self-help strategies to combat their negative thinking pattern. These coping strategies break the cycle of negativity and eventually lead to recovery from such disorders.

3.     Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the effect a person’s past may have on his current situation. Psychodynamic therapy holds that repressed memories, reflexive interaction with external stimuli, both subconscious factors, play a key role influencing how we behave in the present. By examining memories and events from a patient’s childhood, current actions and behavior may be considered an unconscious defense against past events.

The scope of psychodynamic extends to interpreting dreams, which may be an unconscious manifestation of the psyche. Also, patients can be taught to understand when they are transferring feelings over a subject and casting it upon an unrelated matter- e.g. transference of anger. The therapy will usually involve examining traumatic or major events and memories which may be the root of current disorders.

The relationship between the therapist and client must be strong and completely honest for psychodynamic therapy to work effectively. The patient must be willing to disclose information without holding back, to help the therapist get a sense of his psychological state. Choosing a therapist you are comfortable talking to is vital for psychodynamic therapy to work.

Psychodynamic therapy has been proven as effective as a form of impulse therapy in the treatment of addiction. Psychodynamic therapy is also particularly effective in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment and antisocial and other interpersonal disorders.

4.     Family Therapy

Family therapy is geared towards treating the family as a unit. Family therapy may also include couple’s therapy. Also, the conventional classification for family therapy has changed. Family therapy now involves individuals who have established a long-term relationship with one another, regardless of actual biological connections.

Family therapy is usually needed in cases of –

·       Abuse

·       Affairs

·       Courtship

·       Divorce

·       Death in The Family

·       Disabilities

·       Domestic Violence

·       Relocation

·       Substance Abuse and Addiction

Rather than conduct individual sessions, the therapist conducts a group session to examine the interpersonal relationship in the unit. The goal in family therapy, more often than not, is solving whatever problem necessitated the therapy session, rather than focusing on identifying the root cause of the problems.

The therapist makes inquiries into the manner of relationship different individuals in the family unit have, and also details of, particularly volatile experiences.  With this information, he is able to make suggestions and point out certain triggers or scenarios that could have played out with a little change in behavior.

5.     Group Therapy

A group therapy consists of multiple persons with the same or similar issues. These issues may be mental disorders, substance abuse, PTSD, OCD, and sufferers of chronic or terminal illnesses. One of the reasons for the effectiveness of group therapy is the sense of camaraderie it fosters among members. The knowledge and confirmation that you are not alone in your struggles, and the fact that there are people who genuinely understand and care about you, have a positive effect on mood.

Group therapy acts as an effective support system for patients trying to overcome their particular conditions. The group acts as a safe space for the patient to freely express thoughts and feeling a with an absence of bias, judgment and criticism. The shared experience members of a group therapy have can serve a role eliminating a patient's isolative tendencies. Within the safe space of the group, antisocial personalities have a chance to take step towards building self-esteem and social skills.

Group therapy is effective in the treatment and recovery of the following conditions and disorders:

·       Depression

·       Sexual Abuse

·       PTSD in Veterans

·       Borderline Personality Disorder

 

6.     Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

This is a form of therapy that is focused on people who have a history of recurring depression. It is a combination of CBT and Eastern meditation techniques. Participants are taught to identify and identify the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that can lead to a depressive episode and train their minds to ignore such negative stimuli.

MBCT is effective in breaking the cycle that depression creates in the minds of patients. Even after recovering from a depressive episode, there are still depressive pathways laying dormant in the brain. If these pathways are then triggered by even a mild negative thought, such a person relapses back into depression. The mindfulness meditations that are taught during the group therapy have been shown to be highly effective in preventing relapse into depression.

This therapy is effective in the treatment of:

·       Recurring Depression

·       Depressive Relapse

·       Bulimia And Other Eating Disorders

·       Anxiety Disorder 

·       Psychosis.

 

Recommendations

Only a licensed psychotherapist can make a decision on what treatment plan works effectively for you. Understanding the types of therapy available to you and your loved ones eases your mind and theirs over the overall nature of the procedure.

Family Time Center is capable of catering to your requests and inquiries upon the nature of therapy that is ideal for you. Dr. Kaufman has been a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist for over 20 years, gaining a reputation as a family and children oriented practitioner.

With his expansive knowledge, expertise, as well as the use of evidence-based CBT therapies, Dr. Kaufman has committed to helping both adults and children be as in control of their minds as they possibly can. He is experienced in depression therapy, anger management therapy, OCD therapy, as well as counseling for LGBT individuals. You can be assured of a professional yet understanding experience at the Family Times Center.

 

 



 

 

 

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