PTSD Treatment

Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center

For Patients in North Dakota & Minnesota


What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that some people develop after they have experienced a traumatic event. It is common among crime victims and veterans. Usually, when confronted with a traumatic situation, the natural human "fight or flight" response takes over to protect us. Everyone will experience some initial symptoms following a trauma, but most people can recover naturally. PTSD is a diagnosis given to those who continue to experience problems stemming from that trauma for an extended period.

PTSD Treatment | St. Sophies

What Are the Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The symptoms and signs of PTSD usually begin within three months following the traumatic event. These symptoms may not start in some patients until many years following the event.

What Are the Four Types of PTSD?

There are four different types of symptoms of PTSD: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, arousal and reactivity symptoms, and cognition and mood symptoms. Below, we will discuss symptoms associated with each type.

Re-experiencing Symptoms

These symptoms can cause a disruption to a person's daily routines and can start with the person's thoughts. Situations, words, and even objects that serve as reminders of the initial event can trigger symptoms. Re-experiencing symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks where the person relives the traumatic event
  • Nightmares
  • Disturbing or frightening thoughts

Avoidance Symptoms

Some things that remind a person of a traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms which can include:

  • Avoiding a particular location, type of event, or objects that remind the person of their experience
  • Avoiding all thoughts and feelings related to the event

Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms

Arousal symptoms are constant and can leave the person feeling stressed or angered. These symptoms may interfere with general day-to-day activities such as concentrating on something, eating, or even sleeping. These symptoms include:

  • Feeling tense
  • Startling easily
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Angry outbursts

Cognition and Mood Symptoms

Cognition and mood symptoms commonly begin or worsen following the traumatic experience making the person feel detached from their family and friends. While these symptoms are not debilitating in the short term, if they last longer than one month, the person may develop trouble functioning day-to-day. These symptoms include:

  • Problems remembering essential aspects of the traumatic event.
  • Developing negative thoughts about themselves or the world in general
  • Distorted feelings of guilt or blaming oneself for the event
  • Loss of interest in activities they normally enjoy

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors for PTSD?

As discussed, the causes of PTSD are related to a traumatic event. PTSD does not even have to come from an event a person experienced directly. It can also result from a traumatic experience suffered by a family member or a friend. Even the sudden death of someone close can lead to PTSD. There is no age range for developing PTSD as it can happen at any age. Most PTSD cases result from a person having survived a physical altercation, abuse, sexual assault, disaster, fighting in a war, or similar traumatic event. Women are more likely to develop PTSD, and there is a possibility that there can be a genetic disposition towards it.

How is PTSD Different Than Depression and Anxiety?

While PTSD is considered a completely different stress-induced disorder, it is common for those who have PTSD to experience depression and anxiety as part of their symptoms. Since trauma is the cause of PTSD, it only makes sense to understand how a traumatic event can trigger anxiety. Symptoms such as losing interest in everyday activities, distorted feelings of guilt, and developing negative thoughts about themselves are also found in those suffering from depression. The primary difference between PTSD and depression and anxiety is that a person doesn't need to live through a traumatic event to develop depression or anxiety.

How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose PTSD after performing a physical exam and a psychological evaluation. One of the critical factors in a diagnosis of PTSD is that the person has to have been exposed to an event where there was a potential threat of death, violence, or severe injury. You are considered to have been exposed to a traumatic event if:

  • You directly experienced a traumatic event such as being the victim of a sexual assault or violent crime.
  • You directly witnessed the traumatic event happening to others.
  • You find out that someone close to you experienced a traumatic event.
  • You are subject to repeated exposure to details of traumatic events, such as a soldier at war or a first responder at a traumatic event site.

Diagnosis is made if you have experienced symptoms for longer than one month. The aftermath of this event interferes with your ability to function in an everyday social or work setting. Traumatic events are also known to have a negative impact on your relationships.

How is PTSD Treated?

PTSD is most effectively treated through psychotherapy and counseling. It is especially effective when combined with medication. The combination of therapy and medication can help teach you to deal with your PTSD by:

  • Reducing your anxiety
  • Reducing your depression and decreasing the chance that it will return
  • Teaching you at-home coping tools improves your social skills and gets you involved in daily activities again.

Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center in North Dakota Can Help Treat PTSD

Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center offers all the services you need to treat your PTSD. We can help with your diagnosis and help you manage your medication. We offer psychotherapy both at our office and via telehealth appointments. If you are suffering from PTSD symptoms in North Dakota or Minnesota, contact us today for an appointment and to learn more about our treatment options.