5/29/2023 0 Comments
What is PTSD? Where did it come from?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD was first given its full name in 1980 in the DSM-III. However, PTSD had many names throughout the centuries. It was first recognized in combat veterans well over 2000 years ago as documented by Hippocrates in 4607-377 BC. The effects of combat stress and flashbacks were very common then and now with other symptoms as outlined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. It was long believed that PTSD was limited to veterans, but later determined many people can experience this disorder due to a variety of factors.
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. This could occur to a person physical, emotional, and psychologically. People can experience trauma in a variety of different ways through the impact of natural disasters (fire, flood, famine, earthquake, tornados, hurricane, tsunamis, and petulance). They may be the victim of interpersonal violence, be a victim to community violence, early childhood trauma, medical trauma, physical/sexual/verbal abuse, sex trafficking, leaving a war-torn country as a refugee, terrorism, or even traumatic loss.
Many individuals may never experience these traumas in their lifetime, but for those that do, it can be:
1. Acute (one incident, one time)
2. Chronic (exposure over a long period of time)
3. Complex (a variety of traumatic events and exposed over a long period of time often interpersonal in nature).
Each will have its effect on the mind, body, and spirit. For those of us in the helping industries (counselors, social workers, medical staff, first responders) often experience what we call secondary trauma or vicarious trauma.
So what is PTSD? What are the symptoms?
PTSD Symptoms are a culmination of different factors. There are 4 main areas for consideration.
1. Intrusion- Intrusions look like intrusive thoughts, repeated, involuntary dreams, memories, flashbacks of the traumatic event. It is not uncommon for people to report that he dreams or flashbacks are so vivid that they feel as if they are reliving the event.
2. Avoidance- Avoidance of reminders of the event by avoiding people, places, objects, situations that cause a distressing memory or feeling. They avoid sounds, smells, lights and the like that resemble what they experienced. So think on a small scale, if you ever were in a minor car accident you may avoid driving, driving by a certain intersection, etc. Those who have had major car accidents may avoid this long-term impacting their ability to go places due to their experiences.
3. Changes in cognition and mood including inability to remember important aspects, negative feelings and distorted belief about themselves or others, resulting in blaming ongoing strong emotions such as fear, anger, shame, guilt or even horror. Often people will experience feeling dissociation or being detached to themselves or others, or the difficulty with experiencing happiness or personal enjoyment.
4. Arousal and Reactivity. These often leave a person more irritable, increased anger, behaving more reckless or self-destructive. They may become more hypervigilant and suspect of others’ behaviors or their surroundings. Difficulty with sleep is not uncommon, concentration challenges and startles easily.
Well, I have all the symptoms for PTSD, now what?
Be sure to meet with a qualified mental health professional to be assessed and rule out any other issues that may also present similarly. If one does not have experiences of trauma but has difficulty with sleeping, they are going to have difficulties with cognition, being on edge and moody. Not everyone who experiences trauma will go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So it is important to meet with a professional to rule things out.
We complete a long diagnostic interview and assessments and will often discuss you following up with your medical providers as well to rule out medical issues that you may or may not be aware of.
Treatments can include a variety of different therapies and sometimes in conjunction with medication from a qualified psychiatrist prescribing. Different therapies may include cognitive therapies, interpersonal, supportive, psychodynamic, prolonged exposure, somatic, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing or even Accelerated Resolution Therapy. Your counselor will help you decide what is the best option for you as you work together to develop your treatment plan.
Am I broken for good?
The short answer is No. With the help of therapy, learning new skills and a supportive community and spiritual practices many people go on to live a full life, and not impacted by the symptoms long term. There are some who struggle and will need ongoing support through therapies for awhile, but many people are able to receive therapy and move forward in life. While I’d love to tell you it will only be 1 session or 3, often it's quite a bit more sessions. Your individual therapist will be able to guide you in what your treatment plan will look like depending on your current circumstances and point you to specialty treatments as needed.
Aimee Rhodes, MS, LPC-S and Doctoral Candidate for Global Training and Development. Aimee is co-owner of Transform & Renew Counseling. She enjoys working with her clients as well as training the next level of clinicians through their educational practicum and internship processes.
5/5/2023 0 Comments
Does depression ever really go away?
Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect individuals of any age or gender. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low self-worth that can interfere with your daily life. Many people who experience depression wonder whether it will go away, and if so, what steps they can take to manage their symptoms and prevent recurrence. Counseling in person or online can help you to begin understanding your symptoms as well as provide some hope.
Yes, it definitely can go away.
The short answer is yes, depression can go away. However, the length of time it takes for a person to recover from depression can vary depending on the severity of the condition, the underlying causes, and the treatment options available. There are many different types of depression, and each person's experience with the condition will be unique. Some people may experience mild symptoms of depression that resolve on their own, while others may struggle with severe and long-lasting symptoms that require professional treatment. It's important to understand that depression is not a weakness or a personal failure. It is a medical condition that requires appropriate treatment to manage. Seeking professional help from a mental health specialist is essential in managing the symptoms of depression.
What is it caused by?
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and life events. Some people may experience depression after a traumatic experience, such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce. Others may experience depression due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, which can be caused by a variety of factors including medication, substance abuse, hormonal changes and even vitamin deficiencies.
How do I get help for depression?
Treatment for depression typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. These medications can take several weeks to become effective, and individuals may need to try several different medications before finding one that works best for them. Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help individuals identify negative thought patterns and learn coping strategies to manage symptoms of depression. In addition to medication and therapy, many self-care strategies can help manage symptoms of depression. These can include getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Support from friends and family can also help manage depression symptoms.
While medication can be useful, please remember it is not required for getting better. There are holistic options and a medical consult to rule out any physical health complications. Getting your labwork done with your primary doctor is essential to rule out low vitamins such as vitamin D, B, Magnesium and Iron. All of which are essential for a healthy body and mind. If your vitamin D is low, your sleep is likely to be poor and you will likely have a depressed mood.
What if it doesn't go away?
While depression can go away with treatment, it's important to understand that it may never truly go away completely. Like many chronic medical conditions, depression may require ongoing management and monitoring to prevent symptoms from recurring. It's also important to note that depression can be triggered by life events or stressors, so it's important to continue practicing self-care strategies and seeking professional support as needed.
It's important to remember that depression is a common and treatable condition. Seeking help from a mental health professional is the first step in managing symptoms of depression. While depression can be a challenging and long-lasting condition, it is possible to recover and live a fulfilling life with appropriate treatment and self-care strategies.
It's also important to remember that recovery from depression is not a linear process. There may be setbacks and challenges along the way, but with perseverance and support, it is possible to manage symptoms and prevent recurrence. This can look different for everyone, but it can include developing a support network of friends, family, and mental health professionals can be a crucial aspect of recovery from depression.
In conclusion, depression can go away with the appropriate treatment and self-care strategies. The length of time it takes for a person to recover from depression can vary depending on many factors. Seeking professional help, practicing self-care strategies, and developing a support network are all important aspects of managing symptoms of depression and preventing recurrence. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available for those struggling with depression.
Ariana is a student counselor studying mental health counseling at Sul Ross State University. Ariana enjoys working with kids, teens and adults.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.