Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Coping with Trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, known as PTSD, is unique in that it requires experiencing a traumatic outside event. PTSD is often simultaneously associated with war veterans returning from battle with vivid, graphic events that trigger PTSD “shell shock” symptoms. Other experiences, e.g., domestic violence, sexual assault, car accidents, natural disasters and death of a loved one, can contribute to PTSD. Classic symptoms of PTSD include being in a mental state where someone feels as though they are re-experiencing the devastating trauma or everything around them triggers negative memories related to the ordeal.

Utah counselors receive special training and are well equip to help people suffering from PTSD. Therapists in Provo are able to make a valid PTSD diagnosis. In order to receive a PTSD diagnosis, a person must have experienced a situation where he/she felt his/her life and/or safety was imminently threatened or been in a situation where he/she experienced fear, helplessness and/or horror. Obviously, the worse the experienced trauma, the more symptoms manifest to acute or severe degrees.

Medical science shows that MRI (Magnetic Radioactive Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) brain scans are markedly different before and after PTSD trauma. In theU.S., studies have been conducted and show that 60% of men and 50% of women experience some type of traumatic event. Of those that experience a traumatic event, 8% of men and nearly 20% of women may ultimately develop psychological effects related to PTSD.

People who have awaked during surgery to feel extreme pain, but are unable to communicate, are also at a higher risk for developing PTSD and often experience extremely vivid flashbacks of this painful trauma.

PTSD does have marked psychological symptoms, including:

  • Flashbacks – Often these images compare to people seeing a horror movie and it constantly replays in their minds. The vivid images the brain produces, makes people react physically as well because the mind and body become convinced they are reliving the trauma. Often, war veterans may experience bloody battle scenes and rape victims may re-experience the torturous event.
  • Emotional Detachment – Often people suffering from PTSD avoid people, places or activities that may trigger memories of the trauma. This type of detachment leaves people feeling emotionally drained with significant difficulty functioning normally in their day-to-day activities. This emotional detachment or numbness is often a coping mechanism.
  • Jumpiness – Often people suffering from PTSD experience “hyperactive startle reflex.” For example, war veterans hearing fireworks may experience triggered memories associated with gunfire and combat.

If a person experiences a traumatic event and PTSD symptoms last more than a month and affects someone’s ability to function normally, it is best to seek counseling from licensed therapists in Utah.

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