Trauma is a type of injury to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event. It is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. Reactions such as shock, fear, jumpiness, nightmares, or trouble sleeping are common after a traumatic event. For most people, these reactions diminish over time. However, for people with PTSD, the feelings remain as fresh as they were when the event occurred.
Some additional symptoms of PTSD include:
- Denial or disbelief
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and fear
- Guilt, shame, or self-blame
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected or numb
While PTSD is typically caused by experiencing the event first hand, there are other forms of exposure which can cause PTSD including:
- Witnessing the event in person as it happens to others (e.g. witnessing a kidnapping)
- Learning that it occurred to a close family member or close friend (if actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental: e.g. seeing a friend die in a car accident)
- Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the event (e.g. police officers repeatedly exposed to violent murder victims)
Led by board-certified psychiatrists, the PTSD team at IDCC, has received specialized training to treat various types of trauma. Treatment plans are designed for each individual’s specific needs and all are based on methods that have been proven to be effective. In addition to employing some of the top PTSD mental health professionals in the New York area, IDCC has been chosen by the state of New York to treat special cases requiring highly trained and experienced clinicians due to the rare nature of the events that occurred.
IDCC’s approach to treat PTSD with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves educating the individual and their family about the symptoms and what is causing the reactions. It is our belief that building a robust support network that is vital for recovery. As drug and alcohol abuse is closely related to PTSD, clinicians also facilitate education sessions on substance abuse. This helps if substance abuse is present or helps avoid future issues.
The most common medications used for treating PTSD are antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs. These medications work by raising levels of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. This helps to improve communication between nerve cells, leading to improved mood and decreased anxiety. This in turn allows the brain to cope with processing the distressing event that was experienced. In cases where symptoms include rage or anger, mood stabilizers may be used as well.