In one sense, it’s empowering and encouraging that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is talked about more and more these days. It means that real pain and real trauma are less likely to be ignored by those who endured it, or those who live with the consequences. On the other hand, an abbreviation like PTSD runs the risk of losing its meaning as the phrase ‘PTSD’ becomes abstract or is misused and therefore misunderstood. Today we’re looking at some of the ways PTSD can manifest itself in the real world and how people with PTSD can work through past trauma with a Vermont therapist.
First, we should define PTSD. The definition may vary depending on which resource you look at, but generally people with PTSD exhibit a group of lingering and persistent symptoms that occur as a result of a traumatic event or series of events. Examples of PTSD symptoms are: recurrent anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. They may also experience recurrent fears about the possibility of something similar occurring in the future.
In our previous article we discussed disruptive anxiety and panic attacks. PTSD can cause both, and not just in the exact circumstances in which the original trauma occurred. For example, many veterans suffering from PTSD have trouble tolerating loud noises, crowds, and large open areas. They may be consciously aware that they aren’t in a war zone, but their past trauma leads them to feel anxious in those environments.
How can seeing a Vermont therapist help with PTSD symptoms? Let’s break things down into two categories that therapists aim to help with:
Symptoms – for those experiencing the ongoing symptoms associated with PTSD, the effects can be frustrating, invasive and in some cases crippling. PTSD symptoms can affect work life and personal life. They can hinder progress toward accomplishing life goals. Working with a therapist can help in several ways. First, therapy offers a source of impartial help. You and your therapist can take time during each session to work out viable solutions to keep anxiety in check and perhaps to minimize exposure to the circumstances which most often lead to anxiety. For example, if your PTSD symptoms are related to violence or sexual assault working with those who are similar to your attacker could be stressful. Maybe there are ways to transition to a different work environment.
Underlying Causes – As therapists, we work with clients to look for the patterns that occur repeatedly. If we examine those patterns together, change is possible. If we do not examine those patterns, it is unlikely that the symptoms associated with PTSD will improve in the long run. It may take a while to manage symptoms before you’re ready to look at the underlying causes but causes and symptoms are related. Working toward improvement with a Vermont therapist will allow you to work on the symptoms, the underlying causes, and the emotions associated with them.
The causes of trauma and the resulting symptoms are different for each individual, but in the long run, exploring both will allow for problem solving regarding symptoms and taking on the work of confronting the traumatic experiences.
If you, or someone you know may be experiencing the patterns and symptoms associated with past trauma, get in touch. We’re ready to help with the work of reducing anxiety and improving their quality of life.
*Note: The content of blog articles on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat specific mental health conditions, only to provide information to those looking to learn about therapeutic options in Vermont and New Hampshire.