PTSD post

Happy New Year!

Resolutions are often blown off, don’t be afraid to look at what seems scary to look at because it’s too ambiguous, big, or overwhelming. Write it down, talk it out with someone, hammer down what you want to focus on. For me, this year it was a career shift. For next year? I’m still thinking through it, but I’ll let you know.

Trauma Therapy: Best Treatments for PTSD

I offer the two most widely researched and most widely utilized PTSD therapies to date. Not only do research studies say they work, but I've had 11 years of seeing them work. I've seen people smile again and reconnect with others. I've seen people start living again. Read here to learn a little more about Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE).

Today's Focus: Combat Veterans & PTSD

Some of the traumatic things you were exposed to probably got better over time, however sometimes there can be events you don't recover from as expected. Instead, you may feel stuck. You may even go on to develop PTSD. Being a combat vet you were trained to be ready for the unexpected. When the unexpected happened, your training kicked in and you did your job to the best of your ability often without even thinking. But what do you do when the unexpected injured you or one of your brothers? Or took their life? There's not really any good place to process this stuff while in combat- it's onto the next mission. While this makes sense to keep you focused, it takes it's toll over time. You stuff it down, and keep going because that is what you have to do. 

Today's Focus: First Responders & PTSD

Yes, you- the one who has trained hard and works tirelessly in a job most could never do. There is no question that you serve your community with everything you can. But where do you go after a tough run or shift? What happens then? First responders have a higher likelihood of developing PTSD. Don’t suffer alone, effective treatments are available. Read here about PTSD, first responders, and how you can take care of yourself so that you can keep helping others.

Today's Focus: Sexual Assault Survivors & PTSD

Here’s the thing: surviving a sexual assault, maybe a rape, or attempted rape, or other means of sexual violence increases your likelihood of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. What this means is those past experiences are negatively impacting your day-to-day life and preventing you from being able to live how you’d like to.  

The good news? PTSD is treatable. Yes, you heard me right. No, we can’t delete the bad things that have happened. However, what we can do is control how much those past events impact your life now and your life in the future. There are effective treatments available for you to help you to find hope and get back to living life instead of avoiding it.

PTSD Screen

If you find yourself struggling or not feeling yourself, it's natural to try to figure out what  is going on. Sometimes these struggles show up after a trauma and you may be questioning if you may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. I talk about PTSD as a disorder, here, but in this post I thought I'd include a brief self-screener as well. 

The only way to know for sure if you do have PTSD is to meet with a mental health professional, preferably one with training in diagnostic evaluation and some familiarity with trauma-related problems and disorders. In the meantime, however, there are a few questions you can review on the Primary Care PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, or the PC-PTSD-5 screen. Please remember, the PC-PTSD-5 isn't a tool to diagnose PTSD, however a screen to see if PTSD may be likely. 

PC-PTSD-5 screen

Sometimes things happen to people that are unusually or especially frightening, horrible, or traumatic. For example:

  • a serious accident or fire

  • a physical or sexual assault or abuse

  • an earthquake or flood

  • a war

  • seeing someone be killed or seriously injured

  • having a loved one die through homicide or suicide

Have you ever experienced this kind of event? YES / NO
If no, screen total = 0. Please stop here.

If yes, please answer the questions below:
In the past month, have you ...

  • had nightmares about the event(s) or thought about the event(s) when you did not want to? YES / NO

  • tried hard not to think about the event(s) or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of the event(s)? YES / NO

  • been constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled? YES / NO

  • felt numb or detached from people, activities, or your surroundings? YES / NO

  • felt guilty or unable to stop blaming yourself or others for the event(s) or any problems the event(s) may have caused? YES / NO

If you answer "yes" to at least three items, you should talk to a mental health care provider to learn more about PTSD and PTSD treatment.

Now what?

If you did answer "yes" to at least three of the items above, it's recommended that you be evaluated for PTSD. Based upon this assessment, you will then be able to discuss appropriate treatment options for you. If you didn't answer "yes" to at least three items, but you are still struggling with things related to past trauma, keep in mind trauma can affect you in many ways. Depression and anxiety are incredibly common (more common than PTSD) and are disruptive as well. A thorough assessment will help to flesh out where your symptoms fall and determine how you'd best be treated. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me, here, if you are interested in a free 15-minute consult to see if coming in for further assessment is indicated. You don't have to keep suffering alone, help is available. 

Take care, 

Jenn

 

Trauma Therapy: Common Concerns

One common concern I'm repeatedly hearing is that folks think treatment will somehow make things worse. PTSD is a disorder that worsens over time, and the more that you avoid dealing with it, the worse it becomes and the longer it lasts. With that said, the symptoms of avoidance can be the very symptoms maintaining your PTSD and preventing you from taking the leap into getting help you need.