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PTSD Treatment in Florida: Mental Health Treatment in the Sunshine State

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Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a condition that might occur if you’ve gone through trauma, which is a shocking or dangerous event that you witnessed or happened to you. Unfortunately, experiencing this kind of trauma isn’t rare. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, an estimated six of every ten men and five of every ten women will experience at least a single trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience child sexual abuse or sexual assault, while men are more likely to experience physical assault, accidents, disease, combat, or witness death or injury. 

Unfortunately, PTSD can happen to anyone, and it should never be viewed as a sign of weakness. Various factors can increase the chances a person will develop PTSD, many of which are out of that person’s control. For example, if you were injured or directly exposed to trauma, you’re more likely to develop the condition. 

Nearly seven or eight out of every 100 people will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. In a given year, an estimated eight million adults have PTSD, which is only a small portion of those who have experienced trauma. Nearly ten percent of women develop PTSD at some point in their lives compared to only four percent of men. 

PTSD can be a crippling condition that requires treatment to overcome. If you’re someone in Florida seeking treatment for PTSD or someone interested in getting mental health treatment in the Sunshine State, it’s essential to understand before getting the help you need. Please continue reading to learn more about PTSD and how it’s treated.

What Is PTSD?

According to the Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event – either witnessing it or experiencing it. Symptoms can be intense and include nightmares, flashbacks, and severe anxiety, as well as overwhelming and uncontrollable thoughts about the incident. 

Most individuals who encounter traumatic events will have temporary challenges adjusting and coping, but with self-care and time, they typically get better. If the symptoms worsen, last for months or even years, and interfere with day-to-day functioning, it could be a sign you’ve developed PTSD.

Receiving effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop is critical in reducing symptoms and improving function. Since PTSD can interfere with your life, seeking help might be the only option to lead a normal life. 

Symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms commonly start within one month of experiencing a traumatic event, but in some cases, symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms will lead to significant issues in work or social situations and relationships. They might also interfere with your ability to go about daily tasks. 

The symptoms of PTSD are usually grouped into four types: negative changes in mood and thinking, intrusive memories, avoidance, and changes in emotional and physical reactions. Symptoms may vary over time or vary from one person to another. 

Intrusive Memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories include the following:

  • Reliving the traumatic events (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting nightmares or disturbing dreams about the traumatic event
  • Severe physical reactions or emotional distress to something that reminds you of the traumatic events

Avoidance

Symptoms of avoidance include:

  • Trying to avoid talking about or thinking of the traumatic event
  • Avoid activities, places, or people that remind you of the event

Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking

  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Inability to maintain close relationships
  • Memory problems
  • Feeling hopeless about the future

Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions

  • Overwhelming shame or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Easily frightened or startled
  • Always on guard for danger
  • Trouble sleeping
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Individualized Treatment for PTSD

The trauma you’ve endured might have affected you in ways that are different from anyone else. You must look for a program designed to help you cope with these unique issues without conforming to treatments that others attend.  You should sit down in trauma therapy and go over the details of your trauma and how it affects you. You must feel free to discuss concerns and ask questions – you can also discuss how PTSD triggers your addiction. 

Recognizing the Need for PTSD Treatment

It may be a challenge to determine just how much the trauma in your life has affected you. In some cases, the effects of trauma take weeks, months, or even years to show up. If you’ve suffered trauma as a child, you may not show symptoms of PTSD until you’re an adult. You could be dealing with anxiety, depression, fear, despair, relationship issues, a lack of motivation, substance use, or some mental disorder. All of these conditions can be traced back to a trauma in your life. If you believe you’re experiencing PTSD, never hesitate to get help. 

Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get PTSD Treatment

If you or a loved one has developed this condition, know you’re not alone. There’s no doubt you’ve been on a long and painful journey. You might have watched your loved one wrestle with these symptoms along with a substance use disorder (SUD). You’ve probably tried everything to overcome PTSD, but nothing is working. You might feel burnt out or exhausted, but there are ways you can help yourself or a loved one get mental health treatment in the Sunshine State. 

  • Take care of yourself
  • Keep the lines of communication open with a loved one
  • Read about PTSD and the unique challenges of co-occurring PTSD and substance use
  • Research different treatment centers
  • Be open to helping with logistics if your loved one seeks help

How Is PTSD Treated?

The primary objective of PTSD treatment in Florida is to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms, improve daily functioning, and help the individual cope better with the event that led to the condition. Treatment for PTSD could involve medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Some approaches include:

  • Exposure therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Developing a narrative
  • Family therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Challenge maladaptive beliefs
  • Group therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

PTSD can be diagnosed as early as a month after the event occurs or many years later, such is the case in childhood abuse. If symptoms are present, the clinician will assess the signs to make a determination. Mental health specialists use assessment tools to evaluate a person for an anxiety disorder, and they will base the diagnosis of PTSD on reported symptoms. 

Sources

Mayo Clinic (March 2021) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (March 2021) How Common is PTSD In Adults? from https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp

NIMH (March 2021) Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders. from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/substance-use-and-mental-health/index.shtml

NIMH (March 2021) Depression. from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

NIMH (March 2021) Anxiety Disorders. from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

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