Lifeline Connections

Mental Health Services and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

After you have gone through a traumatic experience, it is normal to feel anxious, sad, frightened, or disconnected from those around you. However, if the emotional pain does not seem to fade with time, and you feel stuck with a constant sense of fear, you may be suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It may seem like your life will never be the same, and you will never escape the shadow that hangs over you. But there is hope! By seeking treatment and appropriate mental health services, you can overcome PTSD and return to a healthy, normal life.

What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?

While most people associated PTSD with soldiers who have been through the worst parts of war, it is important to understand that any emotionally overwhelming event can cause PTSD, especially if it makes someone feel like he has no control over his life.

Military combat does remain the most common cause of PTSD in men, but other common triggers include car accidents, house fires, abuse, and any other traumatic episode.  It most commonly affects those who personally experienced a catastrophe, but can also affect those who witnessed it, or rescue workers and police officers who pick up the pieces afterwards. Occasionally, it will even develop in the family members or friends of those who went through the actual traumatic episode.

Symptoms of PTSD

When Should I Get Help?

If you think that you or someone you know might have PTSD, it is vital that you seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is addressed, the easier it will be to overcome. If you are anxious about asking for help, remember that PTSD is not a sign of personal weakness, and the only way you will overcome it is by confronting what happened and learning to accept it as part of your past. This is a process that is much easier and more effective under the guidance of a mental health services professional.

You may feel a natural inclination to want to avoid the painful feelings and memories, but if you try to push them away and numb yourself, it is likely that your PTSD will continue to worsen. Remember that you cannot escape your emotions: deadening yourself to them may work in times of calm, but they will emerge with a vengeance in times of stress. Numbing yourself will only lead to misery, damage your relationships, and harm your ability to function. Seek the help of the mental health services you need.

Mental Health Services to Treat PTSD

Therapy for PTSD focuses on relieving your symptoms by aiding you as you learn to deal with the trauma you have undergone. Rather than avoiding the memory and repressing it, treatment will help you to remember and process the sensations and emotions you experienced during the event. Therapy offers an outlet for all the bottled up emotions that you have been storing, and will help you to develop tools to recover your feeling of control over your life.

During treatment, you will:

  • Examine your feelings and thoughts about the traumatic event.
  • Work through your feelings of self-blame, mistrust, and guilt.
  • Learn how to cope with memories when they come up.
  • Develop ways to control your emotions without repressing them.
  • Address the problems PTSD has caused in your relationships and life

Finding a Therapist to Treat Your PTSD

When you look for a mental health services professional to help you deal with PTSD, it is a good idea to make sure that they specialize in treating trauma. Your doctor may be able to help you by providing a list of mental health services professionals who have experience treating PTSD

If you are in the Portland, OR area, Lifeline Connections is here to help you. Give us a call today at 360-397-8246 ext 7580.

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