PTSD is an anxiety disorder which occurs after a person has personally experienced or witnessed a dangerous and/or life-threatening event. Individuals who are at risk for developing PTSD include but are not limited to:
These events can cause lasting psychological symptoms, including the following (taken from the National Institute for Mental Health Website--www.nimh.nih.gov):
1) Re-experiencing symptoms:
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car. Hyper-arousal symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating. At OPA, PTSD is treated with a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and medications (when necessary). This effective approach can help individuals with PTSD to identify situations that trigger their "fight or flight" response. Using CBT techniques including flooding and systematic desensitization, the therapist and patient can work together to safely reintroduce situations that have become too anxiety-provoking for the patient. Over time, irritability, flashbacks and nightmares will subside and the patient is able to return to their pre-trauma functionality. Treating PTSD is a rewarding experience for our clinicians, as long-term success is highly achievable and patient transformation is astounding to watch.