5 Signs of PTSD and How CBT Helps
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a form of anxiety disorder triggered by distressing, frightening, and highly stressful events and experiences.
Those suffering from PTSD frequently relive the event, experiencing troublesome nightmares and disturbing flashbacks. Accompanying these symptoms are feelings of guilt, isolation, and irritability. Post-traumatic stress disorder, largely due to the nightmares associated with the condition, often leads to insomnia. Lack of sleep regularly brings about difficulties with concentration.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD can be caused by any situation or event that someone finds traumatic. There is no fixed barometer for what constitutes a traumatic experience.
Common examples include:
- Acts of terrorism
- Serious road traffic accidents
- Grave health problems
- Adverse experiences during childbirth
- Violent personal assaults
- Sexual assaults
Sometimes, the symptoms of PTSD develop in the immediate aftermath of the event. Other people don’t experience symptoms for weeks or months, sometimes even years after the event.
When traumatic experiences are repeated – neglect, abuse, and violence within the home, for example – a diagnosis of complex PTSD is likely. Symptoms are similar to PTSD, but they may not develop for years.
When to Seek Medical Assistance for PTSD
If you experience a traumatic event, it’s normal and understandable if you subsequently experience troubling or upsetting thoughts. Usually, though, this emotional volatility will improve over the following few weeks.
If you’re still being bothered by symptoms more than four weeks after the event, you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider, earlier if the symptoms you’re experiencing are especially problematic.
More about the symptoms of PTSD next.
5 Commons Signs of PTSD
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event
- Changes in thinking and mood changes
- Self-destructive behaviors
- Arousal symptoms
1) Reexperiencing the traumatic event
Re-experiencing the traumatic event is perhaps the most common symptom reported by PTSD sufferers.
This happens involuntarily and in vivid detail, to the extent, the experience can be extremely distressing and occurs in the form of:
- Repetitive images
- Strange sensations
- Persistent negative thoughts
2) Changes in thinking and mood changes
Do you find yourself caught in negative patterns of thinking where you proclaim nothing ever works out for you, or that you’re never going to get better? Have you found your mood dipping, even when you have no outward reason to feel down?
Are you dealing with mercurial mood swings, feeling great one moment and worthless the next?
Dramatic changes in thought processes and sharp mood swings are characteristic of PTSD.
3) Self-destructive behaviors
Sometimes, people suffering from PTSD start abusing substances as a response to the symptoms they are suffering and in an attempt to self-medicate.
Other irresponsible behaviors can manifest like driving recklessly.
When accompanied by angry outbursts or shows of aggression, these are all indicative of PTSD.
Many people undergoing post-traumatic stress disorder avoid people, places, or things that remind them of the traumatic event.
More seriously, this sometimes has a knock-on effect, with PTSD sufferers avoiding people in general. This can lead to isolation and depression to compound the existing symptoms.
5) Arousal symptoms
Behavioral changes triggered by PTSD are known as arousal symptoms.
With your emotions heightened, irrational confrontations with loved ones are commonplace.
Problems with the focus can manifest, too.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) for PTSD
CBT is a form of psychotherapy especially well-suited to treating PTSD.
This therapy helps you to better manage your problems by making changes to the way you think and act.
With trauma-focused CBT, you’ll apply a volley of psychological techniques to overcome the traumatic event that’s holding you back. While it may initially feel uncomfortable, your therapist may ask you to explore your traumatic memories by confronting the experience, head-on and in-depth. As you do so, your therapist will help you unpack any unhelpful thoughts and any flawed thinking that’s altering your view of the objective facts.
Over the course of 8 to 10 weeks, you’ll attend weekly CBT sessions lasting from 60 to 90 minutes. As you progress with therapy, you start to regain control by changing the way you view the experience. You’ll also deal with any feelings of guilt still lingering.
PTSD Treatment at The District Recovery Community
If you need help moving forward after experiencing a traumatic event that’s now creating problems in your life, we can assist you every step of the way here at The District Recovery Community.
With our personalized treatment programs, you’ll benefit from the powerful peer support available, and you’ll feel much less alone knowing others are going through exactly the same thing.
Using medication-assisted treatment as appropriate, we’ll also guide you through CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) sessions. You’ll explore what’s causing your PTSD symptoms and you’ll learn how to better navigate them.
To get things started, call the friendly TDRC team at 844.287.8506.