Posttraumatic Stress Disorder & Treatment
Laguna Beach Psychology Services
According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 7 to 8 percent of Americans will suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives and approximately 8 million adults will suffer from PTSD per year. The description below includes a brief overview of PTSD and the specific type of treatment I am able to provide for people with PTSD. This information is provided for informational purposes only to help you better understand PTSD, but is not to be used in place of a professional assessment and diagnosis.
Please note, it is common for people to suffer from multiple disorders, such as PTSD and a depressive disorder. If you feel you may be suffering from a mental health issue and are ready to get help, or even if you’re unsure if you need help and just want more information, please contact me today. If you are experiencing a psychiatric emergency, meaning likely to harm yourself or others, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
What is PTSD?
PTSD can occur only after people are exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Exposure to a traumatic event or events can happen in a variety of ways, such has having experienced the event personally, having learned about the event happening to someone close to you, having witnessed the event happen to another person, or from having repeatedly been exposed to details about the event (e.g., a healthcare professional who repeatedly works with child abuse cases). Symptoms of PTSD may include intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of thoughts, feelings, people, places, etc., related to the event, having difficulty remembering the event, developing negative beliefs after the event, experiencing negative emotions (e.g., shame or anger), and experiencing an increase in reactivity (e.g., hypervigilance, increased startle response, etc.). Please note, it is very common for many people to experience some of the above symptoms immediately after exposure to a traumatic event; however, if symptoms do not last longer than one month (required for PTSD), a person may be experiencing acute stress disorder. Furthermore, people with acute stress disorder do not always develop PTSD. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT), a specific type of CBT treatment, is considered an evidence-based treatment for PTSD and involves challenging or modifying the unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that may be keeping your PTSD symptoms elevated, which facilities the recovery process and decreases negative symptoms over time.