We all experience difficulties and stressors in life, but trauma can often feel like it takes a hold of our lives so deeply that we don’t know how to find our footing.
Most of us have experienced some sort of traumatic event in our lives, whether it’s a little ‘t’ or big ‘T’ trauma.
A little ‘t’ trauma is an unfortunate event like losing a job or getting divorced.
While these things can certainly cause stress, most people can get help with conventional talk therapy.
Big T traumas—like loss of a loved one, seving in the military, a near-fatal car accident, or rape—are a different beast.
These events can dramatically impact your life, and can often lead to a devastating aftereffect, called PTSD.
WHAT IS PTSD?
What is PTSD exactly?
It stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a lasting consequence of traumatic events that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horrors.
PTSD will manifest differently in every person and can be caused by varying degrees of traumatic events.
Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, dissociation, and intrusive memories, to name just a few.
All trauma is difficult to live with, and we at My LA Therapy will personalize your treatment to help you restore a sense of control, rediscover who you are, and help you get your life back.
Using research-proven techniques, we will help you begin to heal and regain a sense of vitality, freedom, and hope.
There’s no sugar coating it: living with PTSD can feel unbearable.
Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt.
Life may feel like it’s been reduced to “before the incident” and “after the incident,” and if you’ve suffered a major trauma, you might feel as though you’re constantly reliving the incident.
You may find yourself pulling away from family and friends and self-isolating, or turning to drugs and alcohol to escape or self-medicate.
If PTSD is affecting the quality of your life, we are here to help you heal and rediscover a stronger, braver self in the wake of your trauma.
PTSD SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS
The DSM-V outlines the symptoms and criteria needed to make a diagnosis of PTSD. Please note that only a mental health professional is qualified to diagnose this condition.
Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one (or more) of the following ways:
- Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s).
- Witnessing, in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others.
- Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend. In cases of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend, the event(s) must have been violent or accidental.
- Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s). Can’t be through electronic media.
Presence of one (or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred:
- Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s).
- Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s).
- Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring.
- Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).
- Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).
Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following:
- Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
- Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations)
Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
- Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event(s) (typically due to dissociative amnesia, and not to other factors such as head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
- Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world
- Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself/herself or others.
- Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame).
- Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities.
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.
- Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings).
Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
- Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation), typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects.
- Reckless or self-destructive behavior.
- Exaggerated startle response.
- Problems with concentration.
- Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep).
- Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D and E) is more than 1 month.
- The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition.
OUR RESEARCH-PROVEN THERAPY METHODS FOR PTSD
While all of the above can feel overwhelming, the good news is we have many therapy modalities in our toolbox that are proven to be successful in alleviating PTSD.
Here are some of the empirically validated, evidence-based therapeutic approaches we use to treat PTSD:
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Mindfulness (MBCT)
See dedicated pages for more info about these individual modalities by visiting the links above or locating them on our Methods page.
Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you minimize the anxiety in your life, identify and change underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and provide you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.
To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must heal by facing and conquering our pain, trauma, and fear.
WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH A PTSD EXPERT NOW
If you have any questions, contact one of our PTSD specialists for a free consultation any time.