What happens in PTSD?
PTSD refers to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition faced by someone who has experienced a traumatic event, both happening to him or someone else, and display the symptoms of PTSD for at least a month. The following symptoms are most commonly found in those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; they can be broadly categorized under four headings:
- Re-experiencing Symptoms
These involve the flashbacks or nightmares a person may have after the specific event. It may make the PTSD person lose track of reality for some time. He or she might feel as if everything is happening all over again. Sometimes events may be recreated differently through intrusive thoughts by the concerned person.
Colleen Cira, PsyD, describes PTSD as something that originates from some kind of traumatic situation. “It can include things like war, car accidents, rape, physical assault, or even verbal and emotional abuse. Basically, any kind of scary or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to cope falls into the PTSD category.”
- Avoidance Symptoms
Someone who is suffering from PTSD would avoid any sort of trigger points such as the specific location where the event happened or a place linked to it, similar situations, sounds, and sometimes even people as well. They may try to isolate themselves from others as feelings of distrust, anxiety, depression, guilt or even revenge take charge of their emotions.
- Hyper-arousal Symptoms
PTSD patients may usually become angry and irritable. They may also get increasingly concerned about their safety, feeling hyper-vigilant in even normal scenarios. This behavior can sometimes even progress to recklessness and self-harm if suitable help is not acquired.
- Negative Mood and Cognition Symptoms
Although the event had left an important mark on their lives, these people often find it hard to remember important details of it. Their memory regarding the event surrounds more around the feelings of fear rather than the actual details. They might even not have the same interest level in things they used to find enjoyable before and their habits will dramatically change post-trauma.
“PTSD can be exhausting and terrifying. Many times people become frightened of themselves and fear that they cannot trust themselves or trust their own experience.” This is what Sarah McIntyre, LPC, says about people suffering from the disorder.
How can talk therapy help?
With several treatment options ranging from medical help to even yoga, talk therapy is also an effective way to help PTSD patients; and currently, BetterHelp offers this type of support online via their website: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/. Talk therapy is basically a form of psychotherapy which caters to those with cognitive disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is also a form of talk therapy. It focuses primarily on changing the thinking patterns of such people by replacing negative thoughts causing dysfunctional behavior with positive ones. In addition to CBT, PTSD patients can also undergo exposure therapy, also a type of talk therapy, which allows patients to face their fears in a secure way.
Why should you give it a try?
- It has long-lasting positive effects
When you are taking part in talk therapy, you are not only curing a mental health issue but are essentially building tools that will help you deal with similar problems in the future. It allows you to develop a reflective lens for everything to experience in life. You learn to think, express feelings about and learn from these events; moreover, you will have more control over your emotions if any similar traumatic situation occurs in the future.
According to Jeney Caddell, PsyD, “Psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is a popular form of treatment for this disorder. Evidence from one study demonstrates that talk therapy may actually produce biological changes in patients with PTSD.”
- It provides you with a new perspective about others
Instead of having feelings of anger and distrust for others, you will be better able to understand not only yourself but others, too after talk therapy. We generally tend to view the world and others in it through a single lens that is primarily based on the traumatic experience that we had. By talking about it and resolving internal conflicts, we would be able to get rid of the unnecessary assumptions about others, too.
- It makes you feel less alone
After facing all the flashbacks and nightmares all alone, you can now feel less alone and more relieved by talking to a therapist. It will provide you the comfort of knowing that someone is there to help you. You can even join support groups and meet new people who support and honor your struggle with PTSD.
This is how it has been proven that talk therapy tends to help PTSD patients a great deal.