Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is recognized by the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a trauma- and stressor-related disorder. PTSD occurs after witnessing or experiencing a life-threatening event such as a tragic accident, death, rape, terror attack, physical violence or a refugee crisis and should be addressed with treatment for PTSD. It is similar to an acute stress disorder with the exception of the duration of symptoms. Unlike acute stress disorder, which lasts for one month, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder last for at least six months. Both disorders are defined by the same symptoms, etiologies and treatments.

Symptoms Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is caused by a terrifying experience such as combat, rape or witnessing disaster, among others. PTSD commonly affects war veterans, first responders, refugees and individuals in abusive relationships. The survivor experiences recurring memories and flashbacks that render him/her incapable of living a normal life. Many individuals need months or perhaps even years to recover. During this time, they may also experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. Substance abuse may be one way of avoiding such emotions, though it can cause further damage as a result.

The Mayo Clinic lists symptoms of PTSD, which include but are not limited to:

  • Avoidance
  • Hopelessness
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Memory problems


A PTSD diagnosis is based on eight criteria from the DSM-5, the first of which includes one or more of the following four components:

  • Directly experiencing the traumatic event
  • Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event as it occurred to others
  • Learning that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or friend
  • Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event

The second DSM-5 criterion involves the persistent intrusion of the event in one or more of several ways, including:

  • Memories of the traumatic event
  • Distressing dreams related to the traumatic event
  • Dissociative reactions, or flashbacks, as though the traumatic event were recurring
  • Prolonged psychological distress from cues that resemble the traumatic event
  • Marked physiological reactions to cues that resemble the traumatic event

Other DSM-5 criteria that must be met for a PTSD diagnosis include:

  • Avoidance of distressing memories or external reminders of the traumatic event
  • Negative alterations in cognition or mood
  • Arousal and reactivity expressed as irritable, reckless or self-destructive behavior, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response, difficulties concentrating or sleep disturbances
  • Duration of more than one month following the traumatic event
  • Clinically significant distress or impairment of functioning in social, occupational or other important life situations
  • Must not be attributable to the effects of substance use or a medical condition

Treatment For PTSD

Living with constant nightmares and fear can be extremely taxing on the mind and body. Treatment for PTSD is best accomplished by providing pharmacological and nonpharmacological modalities.

Psychotherapy approaches include, individual and family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, art therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), anxiety management, hypnosis, play therapy and relaxation techniques.

Pharmacological treatments include antidepressants, beta-blockers, benzodiazepines and anticonvulsants. Treatment is mainly individualized, since symptoms can vary tremendously depending on the person. Some people may experience symptoms of emotional labile while others may experience depression.

Treatment of PTSD at Sovereign Health of Arizona

According to the American Psychological Association, a meta-analysis of 290 studies found that women are more prone than men to developing PTSD after traumatic events. Sovereign Health’s Chandler facility allows women the opportunity to discuss their trauma in a setting where they feel safe and comfortable. Our treatment modalities focus on helping patients deal with their problems and continue their lives in peace and happiness.

Treatment of PTSD in women is a specific focus of Sovereign Health, so we emphasize the importance of therapy to deal with that trauma. Whether the ordeal is a result of domestic violence in a past relationship or family abuse suffered during childhood, we are here to help patients express their feelings and cope.

Sovereign Health’s PTSD treatment centers in Chandler specialize in treating underlying conditions, with a focus on trauma and abuse. Our experienced clinical staff thoroughly assesses each patient upon admission and diagnoses any and all underlying conditions of trauma, including other mental health disorders or substance addiction. At Sovereign Health, our philosophy is to apply this concept to each of our patients on a case-by-case basis, so each patient receives individualized care and treatment.

Sovereign Health enhances treatment benefits with holistic therapies that promote wellness, such as yoga, a healthy diet and exercise. Female patients at our PTSD treatment centers have the opportunity to further their recovery efforts in a relaxed, safe and positive setting.

Overcoming trauma takes time. The support of friends and family during this trying part of life will make the process much easier on the patient’s journey toward recovery at Sovereign Health. For more information about our post-traumatic stress disorder treatment centers, call our 24/7 helpline to speak with a member of our team, who will be happy to assist you.

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