Once called combat fatigue or shell shock, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has historically been associated with combat, but it doesn’t take a war zone to cause it. PTSD can result from experiencing or witnessing a violent act, being in an accident, or repeated exposure to intense, traumatic events. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 10% of adults will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, and more than half of them will be women.
Our multidisciplinary team of medical and mental health professionals at Alpha Care Medical cares for PTSD sufferers throughout Delaware. We can develop a customized treatment plan for you that includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you overcome PTSD and regain control of your life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological problem that occurs as a result of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, a mugging, or a rape.
It’s important to distinguish PTSD from a normal reaction following a disaster or act of violence. It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious in direct response to tragedy. PTSD is diagnosed if you have symptoms for three months or more, but the onset may begin much later.
Symptoms of PTSD include:
- Avoiding reminders of the event, including places, people, and things
- Flashbacks and dreams of the event
- Exaggerated negative feelings
- Reckless and self-destructive behaviors
- Memory loss or inability to focus
- Anger issues and irritability
- Isolation and avoidance of once-loved activities
- Sleep problems
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
Left unaddressed, these PTSD symptoms can easily lead to depression and anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other health problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy explained
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that looks at three specific areas: how you think, how you feel, and how you behave. Each of those aspects are interrelated, and each one affects the others. Cognitive behavioral therapy identifies changes in the way you feel, think, and behave and determines each’s impact on the others.
For instance, if you get trapped in the rubble of a hotel during an earthquake, you may end up thinking that hotels are unsafe places and avoid them. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you understand how unhealthy thinking can take over your emotions, your actions, and your life.
How CBT helps with PTSD
At Alpha Care Medical, we approach your PTSD as a unique situation. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Our team specializes in all areas of mental and physical health, so that you can be assured of comprehensive and compassionate care. If we determine that CBT is a good fit for your PTSD, we may suggest one-on-one or group sessions to guide you through the treatment. Here are a few of the ways CBT can help treat your PTSD:
Rethink your thinking
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you take a critical look at your thought patterns and how they affect the things you do or don’t do. Do you overgeneralize? Do you expect negative outcomes? Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you examine your assumptions objectively, so you can re-evaluate them and begin to change them through practice and repetition.
Face your fears
If one of your PTSD symptoms is avoiding any reminders of an event, such as talking about it, returning to a location, or visiting people you associate with the event, then you’re allowing these thoughts, emotions, and objects to control you. One method of CBT involves exposing you to those reminders in a controlled way to help you gradually change your response to them.
Make a plan
Some PTSD sufferers who were caught off guard during their traumatic event often exhibit behaviors that keep them away from unknown, uncontrollable situations. For many, it can help to pinpoint those scenarios and then make a plan to address potential problems in the future. Feeling informed and prepared can make a big difference in your PTSD symptoms.
The more you know and understand about how trauma can impact your life, the better equipped you can be to reduce or overcome that impact. That’s why our CBT approach includes an educational component as well as stress management and relaxation techniques to support your efforts to change your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
A personal approach to PTSD
Not all cases of PTSD require treatment. Many people who experience tragedies and subsequent PTSD find ways to cope by talking to loved ones, other sufferers, or clergy members. But, if you do need help, we’re here to make sure you get a treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs.
We’ll work with you to find the right type of CBT, the right setting, and the right frequency of sessions. We’ll stay with you every step of the way. If you’re ready to stop PTSD from controlling your life, book an appointment over the phone with Alpha Care Medical today.