Traumatic events such as a motor vehicle accident, a sexual assault, a natural disaster, or the unexpected loss of a family member can have a profound impact on our mental health. This also goes for ongoing events such as serving in the military or being a first responder. You may develop PTSD symptoms that are hard to address alone. Fortunately, we at Lopez-Larson & Associates in Park City, UT offer an integrated program that resolves these issues.
If you’ve gone through something traumatic and are now not feeling well, you might wonder if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress. This could be the case if you have intrusive memories, nightmares, mood issues, and are feeling alienated from your loved ones. To find out more, you should get in touch with a professional and explain your symptoms to them. They can then give you a formal diagnosis and start addressing some of your underlying issues.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress occurs after you have gone through something painful and shocking. You start to feel unsafe and worried about the future, and this can affect your life in a variety of ways. Many people struggle against these feelings because they are ashamed or worried about appearing weak. But this condition is very common, and around 6% of the population will experience it at some point in their lives.
Instead of fighting against the pain, there are productive steps we can take to manage it. Let’s first have a look at some of the symptoms you might be experiencing, then go into the various ways we treat post-traumatic stress at the clinic.
Intrusive Memories and Nightmares
One of the most common issues people with this condition experience is intrusive memories and flashbacks they can’t get rid of. You might relive the stressful situation over and over, and in some cases, you may feel as if you were there again. These memories can happen spontaneously, or they can be triggered by a certain sound, smell, or sight.
Often, they will occur at night and interrupt your sleeping patterns. You may dream about the incident and have trouble getting a good night’s rest. This can then affect your ability to function during the day because you won’t have the focus or concentration you usually do. What’s more, it can significantly impact your intimate relationship.
Avoidance of Related Activities
If your post-traumatic stress was caused by a very specific situation, you may develop an aversion to the activity you were doing at the time. For example, someone who is experiencing problems due to a motor vehicle accident could have trouble getting back into a car. Similarly, the victims of sexual assault often experience issues with their sexual function and wellbeing.
This is your body’s way of protecting you from danger, and it is a natural response. However, it can also limit your life, so you need to address it as soon as possible. The more you avoid the activity or situation, the worse your fears will get. Over time, they could become phobias. The best way forward is to get counseling and slowly release your anxiety.
A Negative Outlook
The fear and trauma you’re feeling can affect the way you see the world. Many sufferers of PTSD have a negative outlook on life and can’t see how things will get better again. They might feel sad and depressed all the time, and they may have trouble imagining a future for themselves and their family. As you can imagine, this isn’t healthy in the long run and needs to be resolved.
Mood Issues and Alienation
Mood swings are a common problem faced by people with this condition. While you might sometimes feel cheerful, your mood can turn dark quickly and seemingly without cause. Of course, this impacts all your most important relationships and makes it difficult to interact positively with others.
You may also feel that you are alone and that nobody truly understands what you are going through. As you work towards recovery, you will discover how to best build up a new relationship with your loved ones and communicate your struggles to them.
Problems Functioning Normally
When you’re carrying around the weight of your memories and experiencing challenging emotions, it can be hard to function like you used to. Many people with post-traumatic stress can no longer perform as well at their job. This is partly due to the fact that their mind is occupied with processing what happened and partly because they can’t sleep as well as they used to.
In addition, the negative outlook you experience could cause you to value your job and regular activities less. Some patients struggle to see the point, which is a clear sign of depression. If you no longer enjoy activities you used to love, it’s time to see a professional and get treatment.
How Can You Get Better?
This extensive list of symptoms might sound overwhelming, but help is available. People who get counseling and treatment for their post-traumatic stress symptoms can usually recover and live their life as normal. Dr. Melissa and her team believe that the best approach is a comprehensive one, which means that they will most likely combine several of the methods listed below to treat your symptoms and address the problem at the root.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
TMS is a non-invasive method of improving depression by stimulating certain nerve cells in the brain. Magnetic fields are used to change the way your nerves fire and increase activity in the areas of the brain that improve your mood. This type of treatment can be used on people who don’t respond to other methods or who need a faster result.
While the effects of antidepressants may take a month to six weeks to become noticeable, TMS works almost instantly. Your session will take between 20 and 40 minutes, and many patients report improved mood within the first week of treatment.
One of the most effective ways of reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety is the use of medications. Scientists know that these conditions occur because of an imbalance of chemicals in your brain, and the easiest way to regulate them is through antidepressants.
While drugs don’t address the root cause of the problem, they can be a good way to make you feel like yourself again. Once you are not depressed, you can more effectively start to address the reason why you are suffering from PTSD.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a therapeutic method that involves recalling the event that caused your post-traumatic stress while making eye movements. Often, you will be following the therapist’s finger with your eyes while thinking about your trauma.
This can help you to recognize that you are now safe and that there is no longer a need for the negative symptoms you have been experiencing. In this way, it can be a more permanent solution and, over time, reduce the need for medication and TMS.
Aside from EMDR, there are other types of therapy we might employ to help you let go of your negative emotions. Your therapist may decide to include cognitive-behavioral treatment, mindfulness-based therapy, or trauma-informed yoga that can help you integrate the body and mind. These solutions are designed to have a long-term impact on your wellbeing and help you recover fully from what happened.
Which Approach Is Good for Me?
As you can see, there are many different ways of addressing post-traumatic stress. Your specialist will evaluate your situation to find out what the underlying issue is and what acute symptoms you are experiencing. Then, they will suggest some of the above methods to you. A combination of symptom relief and long-term counseling usually works best, as it allows you to feel better and address the root cause of the problem at the same time.
Resolve Your Post-Traumatic Stress Now
PTSD can affect anyone who has gone through something traumatic, whether it is a one-off event or an ongoing problem. You might experience many distressing symptoms like memories and nightmares, a negative outlook on life, alienation from your friends and family, mood issues, and problems performing your normal tasks. There are several types of therapies that can help you get better, and usually, a combined approach is best.
Here at the clinic, we offer transcranial magnetic stimulation, various types of medications, EMDR, and trauma therapy. Your doctor will evaluate your individual situation and help you decide which of these methods is best for you. Contact us today at Lopez-Larson & Associates in Park City, UT to find out more and book your first appointment with Dr. Melissa and our experienced team.