Are Constant, Intrusive Memories Or Flashbacks from A Trauma Controlling Your Life?
Have you found yourself avoiding thoughts, feelings, or reminders of the traumatic life event you experienced to try to reduce your anxiety?
Maybe you feel jumpy, on edge, irritable, and easily startled. Or perhaps you have taken on a negative view of yourself or the world because of the trauma you endured, leaving you feeling more disconnected and hopeless.
PTSD can increase negative emotions and make it difficult to experience positive emotions. In addition, avoidance and intrusive symptoms can quickly leave you feeling defeated and like your world is getting smaller.
Fortunately, with help from a trauma therapist, you can identify how trauma has kept you stuck and learn how to regain your life back. Treatment at the OCD & Anxiety Center can help you to learn how to better process the trauma so that you have control over it and it is not popping up when you don’t want it to.
Trauma Happens, But The Impact Does Not Need To Continue
Often, in people’s minds, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is connected to the trauma soldiers are exposed to during war. But veterans are not the only ones who experience PTSD. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that 3.6% of the US Adult population have PTSD.*
PTSD is a mental health condition in which a person experiences negative changes to their mood, behavior, and thoughts about themselves and others resulting from exposure to a traumatic event. Some examples of traumatic events include vehicle accidents, physical or sexual assaults, fires, or surviving an extreme weather event such as a tornado or earthquake. Because of the extent of the intrusive symptoms, a lot of people with PTSD may feel and act as though their traumatic event is still occurring.
While many individuals who go through traumatic life experiences recover within several weeks or a month, some develop PTSD and would benefit from working with a counselor. Unfortunately, many individuals with PTSD are not able to reach out or receive the support that they need.
You Are Not Alone
While everyone’s experience of trauma is different, the impact and symptoms found within PTSD are similar. It is not known exactly why one individual who goes through a traumatic incident develops PTSD and why another one does not. However, we do know that the level of avoidance when talking about and/or interacting with reminders of the incident has a huge impact.
Dealing with mental health issues can create feelings of isolation, but a trauma therapist can help you remove that barrier and collaborate with you to rebuild the life that you had before PTSD. While you might have experienced your trauma alone, you’re not alone on your healing journey. Your PTSD therapist will work alongside you and provide you with the skills needed to break the cycle that PTSD has created.
PTSD Treatment Can Help You Stop Feeling Like You Are Reliving Your Trauma
Like many other individuals with PTSD, you may have made changes to your life to avoid reminders of your trauma. However, while these changes help to bring about short-term relief, they actually increase anxiety and can cause you to feel more powerless in the long run.
Trauma-focused therapy helps you learn to face the thoughts, memories, feelings, experiences, and situations that you have been avoiding, allowing you to regain control.
What To Expect From PTSD Treatment Sessions
Our treatment sessions for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are designed to help you face the memories of your trauma so you can begin to process it. Together with your PTSD therapist, you will also work to challenge stuck thinking about yourself, others, and the world in order to gain your life back.
Sessions are very structured and skills-based. You will learn about common reactions to trauma, what maintains PTSD, create a trauma narrative, and repeatedly face your trauma memories to help process the details, emotions, and thoughts that you experienced. During this process, you will also learn how to begin facing fears and areas of avoidance—systematically and gradually.
Through repeated exposures, you can discover how to better manage the distress and emotions created by those experiences, allowing you to resume the life that you once had.
PTSD Treatment Methods
At The OCD & Anxiety Center, we strive to provide the most evidence-based, trauma focused-therapy possible. The gold standard treatments for PTSD are exposure-based therapies called Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE). The goal behind both interventions is to help you emotionally process your traumatic experiences and reduce your PTSD symptoms.
PE and CPT are both structured and goal-oriented cognitive behavioral therapies designed to treat PTSD.
In Cognitive Processing Therapy, a PTSD therapist helps you to challenge unhelpful beliefs about your trauma that are keeping you stuck, as well as face the memory of your trauma through a written narrative.
In Prolonged Exposure Therapy, a PTSD counselor will show you how to process the trauma by sharing the details of your traumatic memory verbally over and over. They will also help you face and confront feared places, people, and stimuli through in vivo (live) exposures, breaking the cycle of avoidance. Exposures will be created and confronted gradually, though consistently, to help you change your relationship with your story and your fears.
The trauma-related memories and feelings may often leave you feeling like you are constantly in a state of danger. With treatment, however, you can learn that, while these memories are uncomfortable and a very difficult part of your past, they are not currently dangerous and do not need to be avoided.
If you or someone you know would benefit from our specialized PTSD treatment services, please reach out to us at 630-522-3124 today!