Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Drs. Ryan and Olivia Lee, psychiatric nurse practitioners in Scottsdale, AZ specialize in post-traumatic stress disorder treatment. Please contact us to discuss our treatment options and availability!
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental disorder that can occur after an individual experiences a traumatic event. Traumatic events can include natural disasters, violence, or sexual assault. Sometimes individuals may endure repeated and/or several different traumatic events over time with varying degrees of severity, This can result in what is known clinically as complex post-traumatic stress disorder, or complex PTSD.
There are a wide range of symptoms that characterize post-traumatic stress disorder. The most common symptoms that tend to occur are what are known as re-experiencing symptoms. These include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive distressing memories. Traumatized individuals tend to avoid things that “trigger” their PTSD symptoms. This may result in isolation, difficulty sleeping, and depressed moods. Individual with post-traumatic stress disorder tend to be on-guard, and hyperaware of their surroundings and potential threats. It is not uncommon for an individual to also experience guilt and shame regarding their trauma. In an effort to quell their symptoms, individuals with post-traumatic stress may resort to unhealthy habits such as drug or alcohol use.
In severe cases, an individual may feel like the traumatic event is actually happening all over again. Sometimes, in attempts at self-preservation and protection, the body and brain may dissociate from thoughts, feelings, and reality. This may result in the sensation of being detached from and/or that the surrounding world is distant, distorted, or unreal.
How is PTSD treated?
The most effective and enduring way to treat PTSD is through the use of specialized trauma-focused psychotherapies. Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy or EMDR, is an evidence-based psychotherapy that is used to treat trauma survivors. The therapy, founded by Dr. Francine Shapiro, is designed to allow individual to reprocess traumatic memories through a series of stages guided by the therapist. Medication can also be an effective way to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as depressed mood, irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and nightmares.