Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an illness where a traumatic event occurs and symptoms of trauma continue to occur and persist after one month of the incident. Sometimes symptoms can show up years after a traumatic event. Commonly, people associate PTSD with war veterans, but PTSD can occur to anyone who has experienced a trauma such as work place accident, near death experience, car accident, natural disasters, sexual abuse, rape, etc…
Symptoms of PTSD:
Intrusive memories such as: Flashbacks, Nightmares, Re-current and distressing memories of the trauma
Avoiding people, places or things that remind you of the trauma and/or avoiding discussing the trauma
Lack of interest in activities
Difficulties with relationships
Overwhelming feelings of guilt and/or shame
Irritable, angry outbursts
Hypervigilant for danger
Treatment for PTSD
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is one of the leading treatments for PTSD. PE is based on cognitive behavioural therapy that helps to gradually look at the memories and people/places/things that you have been avoiding. It is a systematic approach to confront the avoidance of thoughts, memories, feelings, people/places/things. By confronting what you avoid you are able to see your PTSD symptoms decrease.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another leading treatment for trauma and PTSD. EMDR is an integrative approach that includes mind, emotions and body. This type of therapy does not include a lot of talk during therapy and can help decrease the intensity of traumatic memories. EMDR can also be used for anxiety, pain management, panic, phobias, depression and complicated grief.