Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Classified as an anxiety disorder, PTSD can occur at any age after a person has seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death. It can follow survival from a natural disaster such as a flood or fire, or events such as assault, abuse, prison stay, rape, terrorism, wars, and revolutions.   Having history of trauma may increase your risk for getting PTSD after a recent traumatic event.   PTSD changes the body’s response to stress. It affects the stress hormones neurotransmitters which disturbs day-to-day activity.


Symptoms of PTSD can be extremely debilitating. They fall into three main categories:  


1. “Reliving” the event through flashback episodes or nightmares, where the event seems to be happening over and over again.
2. “Avoidance” of the pain through emotional “numbing,” and being unable to remember important aspects of the trauma. Avoiding places, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event.
3. “Arousal” where one is easily startled, and has an exaggerated response to the scare. One may feel irritable, oversensitive to stimuli and has difficulty concentrating.  


At Exist we offer treatment that can help prevent PTSD from developing after a trauma and if PTSD does occur treatment helps reduce symptoms by encouraging you to resolve the traumatic event and express your feelings about it. We place great importance on the therapeutic relationship with our clients that enables them to feel safe to grapple with their traumatic memories.   We help our clients re-establish safety in their lives as well as develop the resources they need to get better. People with PTSD may have other problems that need attention as well as many will abuse alcohol or other substances. Others may feel depressed or have psychosomatic manifestations. We help them become aware of their body and its signals, using the body to heal.  Over time, memories of the event become less frightening.

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