PTSD Treatment

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition caused by devastating or life-threatening events such as living through a pandemic or a serious car accident, surviving a deadly attack, fighting in a war, or falling into poverty. Some experience PTSD simply from being a witness to such events. Fortunately, not all individuals who experience extreme life occurrences will develop PTSD. Most people tend to recover with few problems. On the other hand, some have lasting manifestations of trauma like debilitating fear, guilt, and stress. This condition is known as PTSD and may require clinical help in a trauma-informed treatment program. PTSD is associated with chemical and physical changes in the brain that impair a person’s ability to process their emotions and respond to fear and stress reasonably. Certain areas of the brain are smaller, overly reactive, or less responsive in individuals with PTSD. PTSD signs and symptoms begin within about three months of the incident but can sometimes emerge years later. To be diagnosed, an individual must have symptoms for over a month that significantly disrupt the daily flow of activities and social interactions. Some people can recover quickly from PTSD, while others experience the condition over long periods of time and require more intensive treatment.

Why Do Some People Develop PTSD?

In the United States, trauma is relatively common, but PTSD is not. There are several reasons some people develop PTSD and others do not. One reason is biological sex. Other biological and environmental risk factors for the development of PTSD include:

  • Genetics
  • Lack of education
  • Childhood adversities
  • Lack of social support
  • Pre-existing mental illness
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Pre-existing substance use disorder
  • Nature and the severity of the trauma

Symptoms and Signs of PTSD

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a PTSD diagnosis requires each of the following categories of symptoms for at least one month:

  1. One re-experiencing symptom
  2. One avoidance symptom
  3. Two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  4. Two cognition and mood symptoms

The following is a breakdown of the four categories of symptoms:

#1. Re-experiencing Symptoms

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Intrusive, scary thoughts

#2. Avoidance Symptoms

  • Evasion of thoughts or emotions related to the trauma
  • Evasion of people, places, or things related to the trauma

#3. Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms

  • Feeling tense or irritable
  • Responding in angry outbursts
  • Being hypervigilant to surroundings
  • Difficulties sleeping and concentrating
  • Increased reactivity and startle response

#4. Cognition and Mood Symptoms

  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Detachment from oneself or reality
  • Intense emotions like sadness, guilt, or blame
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Poor recall or lack of memory regarding key aspects of the event

Why You Should Get Help

PTSD can be very painful and disruptive to endure day-in and day-out. The avoidance symptoms, in particular, can be isolating and lonely as they cause an individual to evade people or situations that remind them of their traumatic experience. This approach is self-defeating because it prevents a person from getting help, pushing their recovery further and further out of reach. Failing to treat this condition effectively and promptly can lead to additional mental health complications. Anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse often develop alongside PTSD, making treatment and recovery more difficult. Getting treated for a dual diagnosis may be necessary to effectively treat co-occurring disorders. Seeking help for PTSD is also important to prevent the following long-term health and social problems from developing:

  • Chronic pain
  • Social isolation
  • Eating disorders
  • Weakening immune system
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Declining physical health
  • Problems in close personal relationships
  • Loss of ability to function in social or occupational environments

Casa Recovery has a trauma-informed treatment program that can help you confront your fears and overcome the past.

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Care

All of Casa Recovery’s programs are trauma-informed. A trauma-informed approach prioritizes the creation of a trusting relationship between the client and the clinician to promote positive treatment outcomes and adherence. This is a particularly relevant point for individuals suffering from trauma or PTSD as they often require a high level of trust and a strong therapy regimen to obtain relief and free themselves from harmful coping techniques. A trauma-informed approach is defined by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) as: “A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; and responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.” Every member of Casa Recovery’s clinical team is trained to provide a trauma-informed approach and to create an environment that ensures safety and healing without re-traumatization in treatment.

Get Help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Orange County

PTSD is very commonly linked with substance abuse, with sufferers turning to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate their illness. Because PTSD is a chronic condition, this means the person is likely to experience its effects for many years, often a lifetime. Unless the person seeks specialist mental health treatment for PTSD, their condition will deteriorate and worsen.

Treatment for PTSD is centered on finding the causes of the illness. Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is an evidence-based approach to unraveling the root causes of mental illnesses like PTSD. In a CBT session, the therapist guides the client to the deepest recesses of their minds in order to identify problems relating to past events. By understanding the drivers of PTSD, it is possible to address them by adapting the way the person thinks and ultimately behaves.

Mental health treatment is designed to help people live with mental health conditions like PTSD. There is no cure for PTSD and it should never be suggested that is the case. It is however very possible to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life when armed with effective coping mechanisms learned in therapy. CASA Recovery develops personalized mental health treatment programs in Orange County to meet your unique needs to promote the best recovery outcomes.

How Casa Recovery Treats PTSD

In addition to being treated within the framework of trauma-informed care, clients have access to different therapeutic modalities <link to therapeutic modalities page> that are beneficial for treating trauma. Utilizing varying treatment methods including individual and small group therapy are often necessary so clients can figure out what works best for their individual needs. Using only one modality may not be helpful or effective in treating all aspects of a condition that can have many dimensions. Medication and psychotherapies are two general options for treating PTSD and are often used in combination or on their own.  Therapies suitable for clients with PTSD include:

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) is used to help clients change negative thought and behavioral patterns by identifying core problems and their potential causes. CBT teaches clients skills and coping techniques to manage harmful thoughts and behaviors.
  • Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) prompts clients to recall possibly distressing memories while following hand movements to promote rapid eye movement. This therapy is theorized to stimulate the brain’s ability to reprocess memory, allowing the client to uncover patterns in their behaviors.
  • Somatic Therapy & Somatic Experiencing™ is a holistic therapy in which clients receive psychoeducation, practice mindfulness, and learn to connect to their bodily experiences to promote healing at a somatic level.

Holistic therapies, such as mindfulness, mediation, yoga, and art and music therapy, can also be used to support the recovery process. Casa Recovery is a mental health and addiction treatment center located in San Juan Capistrano, CA. We take a trauma-informed approach to treating our clients, meaning that making sure you feel safe and comfortable in our healing environment is at a top concern. It is time to start living your best life, free of triggers and unwanted pain and suffering. Please call us today at (888) 928-2272.