Virtual Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that is often seen in individuals who have been through a serious event such as a natural disaster, automobile accident, or war. This disorder typically causes vivid flashbacks or nightmares to the time and place where the person’s trauma occurred, which can make daily tasks or activities difficult if their PTSD remains unchecked and untreated.
At Sol Wellness and Psychiatry, Dr. Patel offers telepsychiatry services to patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. She will take the time to provide you with a comprehensive diagnosis to help discover the best plan of action for you and your lifestyle.
The 4 Types of PTSD Symptoms
Symptoms of PTSD most often appear in the first few months after a traumatic event, though it is also possible for these effects to remain dormant until years later. There is no telling what exactly will trigger a person’s symptoms, as each individual with PTSD is uniquely different.
There are four primary categories that symptoms of PTSD can fall into. These include:
Intrusive thoughts: Involuntary memories of the traumatic event that forces the person to relive their experience. These may occur as conscious flashbacks, or during an unconscious state while the individual remains asleep.
Avoidance: Individuals with PTSD often try to avoid situations that they believe will trigger a distressing memory of their past trauma. For example, a person who was involved in a bad car accident may try to avoid driving or riding in a car.
Negative thoughts and feelings: These often pertain to the individuals themselves, as many believe that they are bad or broken in some way due to their recurring flashbacks that may result in harm to others around them.
Changes in physical or emotional reactions: People with PTSD are generally much more skittish and fearful, which causes many to react more dramatically to certain stimulus around them.
Characteristics that define a diagnosis of PTSD include presenting symptoms as mentioned above for longer than one month’s time. Many individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder will also develop related psychiatric conditions, such as acute stress disorder, anxiety disorders, reactive attachment disorder, an adjustment disorder, or disinhibited social engagement disorder.
Risk Factors to Consider
There is no way to know for certain whether or not a particular person will develop PTSD at some point in their life. However, there are a few known factors to be aware of that can increase an individual’s risk for developing this disorder, including:
- Added stress after a traumatic event
- Witnessing a traumatic event involving another person
- Feelings of helplessness or intense fear
- A history of mental illness or substance abuse
- Not having enough support from friends and/or loved ones after a traumatic event
The best way to combat these risk factors and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder is to seek help from those around you as soon as possible. Establishing healthy coping mechanisms can be done both before or after a dangerous event, and leaning on others for much-needed support is vital to overcoming symptoms of PTSD.
Treatment for PTSD
For those who experience more intense symptoms of PTSD that they are unable to manage and control on their own, Dr. Patel is here to help. The most common methods used universally to treat PTSD include prescribed medications and psychotherapy.
Medications for PTSD Management
While medication cannot cure PTSD, it can certainly help to improve symptoms of the disorder. As previously noted, individuals with PTSD often experience sudden mood changes that can leave them feeling hopelessly sad or incredibly angry. Problems with sleep are also extremely common, and can also be managed using different types of medication as prescribed by Dr. Patel.
Types of Psychotherapy Used for PTSD
Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy can be very beneficial in treating a wide range of mental illnesses. This therapeutic technique includes many subcategorizations that are each designed to address a patient’s needs in different ways. For those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring are typically regarded as the most effective methods used by mental health professionals.
As its name would suggest, this form of psychotherapy is based on exposing the individual to their fears in order to relive the event in a safe environment that will not cause them any kind of harm. After experiencing the event in a safe and controlled space, many patients are able to realize that their avoided situations are not likely to cause a dangerous outcome, which can allow them to begin immersing themselves in previously enjoyed activities once again.
It is common for individuals with PTSD to remember the event in a more serious and dramatic way than how it actually occurred. This can lead to feelings of shame or guilt that the trauma was the person’s own fault, even though this is often untrue. Cognitive restructuring focuses on reliving the event in a more realistic way that strips away the intense emotions around the trauma and leaves the patient feeling much more relaxed with their memories.