POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

Something big has happened. You’re shocked. You’re terrified. You can’t get it out of your head.

It might have happened last week, last year or 20 years ago. It might be a whole bunch of bad experiences that have all added up. All you know is, you’re not the same person and you want the old you back.

Memories pop into your head about it and you can’t predict when they come. You wake up in a sweat most nights. You try not to think about it, but that’s just not working. You avoid this and you avoid that, but the fear and the memories keep on coming.

You can’t sleep. You’re angry. You’re just DONE.

Sound familiar?

What is PTSD?

It makes sense that we as human beings respond powerfully when we face a traumatic event. We experience the fight-flight-freeze response in order to manage stressful situations, but PTSD develops when this response gets stuck and won’t shut off.

There are four groups of symptoms that make up PTSD. The first group is called the re-experiencing symptoms, which are the symptoms that lead you to continue to experience the trauma over and over again. You might be having nightmares or flashbacks or maybe you’re being triggered by activities or places that remind you of the trauma. Maybe you keep having memories of the event pop into your head at random times.

The second group is the avoidance symptoms. You might be avoiding thoughts, feelings, memories of the trauma. Maybe you’re avoiding people, places or activities that remind you of it. Avoidance is a cardinal symptom of PTSD.

The third group has a complicated name: negative alterations in cognitions and mood. These symptoms reflect the fact that you view the world differently after the trauma. Often we see unhealthy beliefs develop in the areas of power/control, trust, safety, self-esteem and intimacy. For example, you might have difficulty trusting strangers, or feel more unsafe in your home, or feel less capable of handling stress or feel much more detached from people. It’s very common to stop feeling like spending time with family and friends and to stop taking part in hobbies and activities that used to be fun. Usually, we see more fear, guilt, sadness, shame and confusion.

The final group of symptoms is called the hyperarousal symptoms. These symptoms show that your body is stuck in that fight/flight/freeze response. You might feel more irritable and angry, jump with loud noises and have great difficulty concentrating. It’s incredibly rare to sleep well when you have PTSD. Often you’ll have trouble falling asleep and then wake often in the night. You’ll likely feel overly watchful in public, which is a symptom called hypervigilance.

We can’t tell you how many people we have helped work through these symptoms using treatments that really work. If you think you would benefit from speaking to someone about your experience of trauma, we’d be happy to meet with you

Treatments for PTSD

At Ward & Associates Psychological Services, we’re experts on trauma and therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. We have helped countless people to move forward in their lives after facing traumatic events.

We have experience providing counselling to first responders, including current-serving military members, veterans, police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical personnel. We deal with all kinds of traumas, including combat trauma, car accidents, sexual assaults, shootings, abuse and more.

We will provide you information about your symptoms and help you to understand why you’re feeling the way you do. We’ll help you gain control over your symptoms and life.

We use treatments that are proven through research to work, such as Prolonged Exposure, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Processing Therapy.

If you’re interested in learning more about therapy for PTSD or booking an appointment, contact us. 

Your Next Steps

At Ward & Associates, we are a Sherwood Park-based clinic offering face-to-face therapy to clients in the Edmonton area. For your convenience, we also offer online therapy to clients all over Alberta.

We can help you to move forward in your life. If you’re ready, we’d be happy to arrange an appointment with one of our skilled trauma therapists.