Are you wondering how exactly trauma or traumatic events can cause PTSD? Before we dive into that, let’s talk more about what PTSD is.

What is PTSD?

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental health disorder that can occur in any person who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or circumstance. Examples of traumatic events that can cause PTSD include combat, assault, a natural disaster, violence or bullying, or serious accidents.

In the past, PTSD was known as “shell shock” during war times, but PTSD is not something that happens only to war veterans. It can occur in anyone, no matter their age, background, etc.

How is PTSD Characterized?

People with PTSD experience intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their traumatic experience long after the event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares and they may also experience feelings of sadness, fear, or anger. The fear they feel triggers a “fight-or-flight” response – which is the body’s way of protecting itself from possible harm.

While some people who have experienced a traumatic event may recover over time, people with PTSD usually don’t improve much. They have feelings of stress, fear, and even detachment from the people around them. In some cases, PTSD symptoms might not even present until later on after the traumatic event, and they might come and go over time.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD Symptoms can be grouped into four different categories:

1. Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories can include:

  • Recurring, unwanted memories or nightmares of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening all over again
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to triggers or something that reminds you of the traumatic event

2. Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance can include:

  • Staying away from places, events, or things that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Avoiding any thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event

3. Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood can look like:

  • Negative thoughts about yourself or others
  • Blaming yourself or experiencing feelings of guilt
  • Memory problems, including not remembering details about the traumatic event
  • Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Feeling detached from loved ones

4. Changes in physical and emotional reaction

Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also known as arousal symptoms) can include:

  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Always feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Trouble sleeping and concentrating
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Irritability or angry outbursts

Who is Most Likely to Develop PTSD?

As mentioned before, anyone can develop PTSD, but there are a few factors that can put you at more of a risk like:

  • Your gender; women are more likely to develop PTSD than men
  • Having experienced trauma during childhood
  • Being prone to extreme fear
  • Going through a traumatic event that lasts a long time
  • Having a history of mental illness or substance abuse

It’s also important to remember that not everyone who has PTSD has been through a life-threatening event. Sometimes, learning that a relative or close friend has passed away can cause PTSD.

Treatment Options

There are a few PTSD treatments, like psychotherapy and medications, that can be combined to improve the results.

A few different types of Psychotherapy include:

Cognitive therapy

This type of talk therapy can help you to recognize your thinking patterns and negative beliefs.

Exposure therapy

This is a type of behavioral therapy that can help you safely face the memories you have from your traumatic experience. It can help you learn the tools you need to cope effectively.

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)

EMDR is an effective treatment for those experiencing trauma. It is safe, natural, and fast-acting and you will process traumatic memories and negative emotions in brand new ways. You can read more about EDMR therapy here.

ETT (emotional transformation therapy)

ETT goes beyond standard talk therapy to offer a much deeper level of emotional healing that addresses the mind, the body, and your energy systems. This type of therapy combines the use of elements like light patterns, color wavelengths, and eye movements to rapidly transform emotional distress and related physical pain into a positive emotional state.

Recovery is Possible

These types of treatments, combined with medication can help you regain a sense of control in your life. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and you don’t have to do this by yourself. Reach out to Engracia Gill today to discover how you can get help in Austin, Texas.

Learn more about how you can transform your traumatized mind and be inspired to live well here.