Did you know that more than 8 million people in the country aged 18 and above have PTSD? Though it is associated with military combat, it can affect anyone. The disorder can stem from physical or sexual assault, serious accidents, or terrorist incidents.
PTSD is compounded by substance abuse, depression, and relationship difficulties. Since it is often dismissed, you may not know when you are a victim. It’s also common to associate symptoms with other mental disorders like depression.
So, what does PTSD mean? Read on to learn more about this condition and where to start when seeking treatment in this guide.
What Does PTSD Mean?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that affects people who have experienced a traumatic event. The traumatic event may be brought about by sexual violence, serious injury, or a natural disaster.
PTSD symptoms fall into four categories. They include intrusion, avoidance, alterations in mood and cognition, and alterations in reactivity and arousal.
Intrusive thoughts such as repeated distressing dreams and involuntary memories are common. You may also try to avoid activities, objects, places, or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
PTSD can make it difficult to remember important parts of the event. Even more, reactive and arousal symptoms may include having angry outbursts and being irritable.
Your doctor may conduct a physical exam to check for any medical problems that trigger the symptoms. They may also do a psych evaluation to learn about the events leading to these symptoms or signs.
A diagnosis will only be necessary if you directly experienced a traumatic event. It will also be crucial if you were a witness to the event or learned that a loved one was a victim. Being exposed to graphic bits of a traumatic event will also call for a diagnosis.
You’ll have to wait until at least 1 month after the traumatic event happened to be diagnosed with PTSD. Your doctor may begin the diagnosis by looking at your medical history as soon as the symptoms present. If the exam rules out any physical illness, you will be referred to a mental health professional who will diagnose and treat the PTSD.
The doctor will diagnose you with PTSD if the symptoms persist for more than a month. Their diagnosis will also apply if the symptoms affect your ability to work, socialize or form relationships.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is treatable with various interventions. Everyone is different, so it’s possible for a treatment that works for others not to work for you. Here’s a breakdown of these PTSD treatment options:
There are no specific medications designed for PTSD treatment. But, different clinically-approved medicines used to treat other mental disorders can help manage PTSD symptoms. They include SSRIs and SNRIs.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help treat symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Paxil and Zoloft are the only FDA-approved medications for treating PTSD.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are used to treat depression. Venlafaxine, in particular, is an SNRI that can help treat PTSD symptoms.
Your doctor may also prescribe anti-hypertensive alpha-blockers or antipsychotics like prazosin to reduce the symptoms. Either way, seek medical attention if you experience agitation, insomnia, nausea, or headaches when taking the drugs.
You can count on different psychotherapy techniques to heal from PTSD. These techniques have to be supervised by a qualified mental health professional after assessing your condition. The techniques include cognitive processing therapy, EMDR, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
As a type of cognitive-behavioral treatment, cognitive processing therapy can help you cope with PTSD. The process educates you on the mental and emotional aspects of your experience. It helps identify thoughts that are making it difficult for you to recover.
Abbreviated as EMDR, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing can help you process difficult aspects of the trauma. The technique uses side-to-side eye movements to help you deal with difficult emotions, thoughts, or memories.
The last technique on this list, cognitive behavioral therapy, focuses on the relationship between behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. During the therapy sessions, your therapist will help you identify distortions in your feelings and thoughts linked to the trauma.
3. Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Complementary and alternative therapies like trauma-sensitive yoga and acupuncture can help you cope with PTSD. Yoga, in particular, can reduce physiological arousal caused by trauma and improve body awareness. Hatha yoga and Yin yoga are ideal for people living with PTSD since they help you evaluate the traumatic experience.
Regular yoga sessions can help you detach from the physical and emotional aspects of the trauma symptoms. The poses will allow you to uncover a connection that the traumatic experience may have blocked. They can also help you sit with yourself and others for a long time without getting agitated or depressed.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese form of medicine used to relieve or prevent health issues. During this procedure, very thin needles are inserted into certain parts of the body. Through a series of research, the Department of Veteran Affairs approved acupuncture as a safe and effective practice for PTSD symptoms.
4. Innovative Treatments
As medical research into PTSD continues to evolve, more exciting breakthroughs are available. Some of the emerging approaches that seem promising include SGB injection and virtual reality exposure. Others include ketamine infusion and MDMA-assisted therapy, as discussed below.
SGB (Stellate Ganglion Block) Maryland
A stellate ganglion block (SGB) is a local anesthetic injected to block sympathetic nerves on the voice box. It helps relieve symptoms like swelling and pain and improves mobility. SGB PTSD treatment can provide relief for pain located in the chest, arm, neck, or head.
SGB in Maryland continues to show promising results when used to treat PTSD symptoms. It is more powerful when combined with other evidence-based treatments for PTSD. Medical interventions that pair well with SGB include EMDR, cognitive processing therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy.
A single SGB injection can help you cope with PTSD symptoms for a few weeks. Your symptoms may also improve with a second injection and subsequent injections if needed.
SGB for PTSD helps reset the brain to pre-traumatic or baseline levels, and its results can be seen within 30 minutes. Though results vary with the patient, they can last from a few months to several years. The treatment also carries minimal risks and has no major side effects.
Virtual Reality Exposure
Exposure therapies such as virtual reality exposure can help manage anxiety-related disorders. You can count on this treatment to approach parts of your trauma with less anger or fear. The therapy can help you get more aware of your experience.
A well-trained clinician has to supervise the virtual reality exposure therapy for the best outcomes. During the sessions, the clinician will manipulate the visual situations to expose you to the traumatic event. As you watch the clips, the event will have little impact on your emotional and mental well-being.
Note that the objects you’ll be seeing in the virtual environment are unreal. You also need to remain seated throughout the session unless the therapy requires you to stand.
As clinical anesthesia, ketamine shows promising results when used to treat PTSD. It’s given in low doses to people with PTSD to prevent major side effects. Ketamine may induce dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, nausea, or vomiting in high doses.
This complex PTSD treatment activates a circuit in the brain that helps you resist stress. The infusion can also block neurotransmitters that cause depressive symptoms and inflammation. It can also help regenerate neurons in the brain to relieve depression.
Ketamine is ideal if your PTSD symptoms fail to respond to other interventions. You may experience relief within a few hours, days, or weeks.
MDMA is a synthetic drug often used as a hallucinogen and stimulant. When taken for recreational purposes, it causes distortion in perception and time and an energizing effect.
More research is being done on the possible benefits of MDMA on mental health conditions like PTSD. Patients have reported a less threatening experience when given MDMA in various studies.
During an MDMA-assisted therapy session, the clinician will give you the drug to help you process your experiences. You won’t feel any pressure or judgment as you relive the traumatic event in your mind. MDMA makes it easier to process emotions and thoughts related to a traumatic event.
The therapy can also help you open up and work through your traumatic experience. Since MDMA is yet to be approved for legal use, it is likely to cause addiction or lead to harm. It’s, thus, important to have a therapist supervise the session.
PTSD Treatment Elkridge Maryland: Find SGB Treatment for PTSD Near Me
As public awareness of PTSD and trauma exposure is available, it’s common for people to be misinformed. Even more, people living with the disorder risk being misunderstood and misrepresented.
If you’re asking what does PTSD mean, the information above should come in handy. With this guide, you’re on a path to understanding that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to seek professional help.
Count on SGB Docs for PTSD treatment Mt Airy Maryland to cope with the symptoms. Our staff will work on your specific schedule and book you for treatment right away. Get in touch today to get started.