Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental illness which may develop following exposure to
- Extreme Trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that a person has experienced, witnessed, or learned about,
especially one that is life-threatening or causes physical harm. It can be a single event or repeated experience.
- The experience causes that person to feel intense fear, horror, or a sense of helplessness.
- The stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person's life, including mental, emotional, and physical
- Those who experience greater stressor magnitude and intensity, unpredictability, uncontrollability, sexual
victimization, real or perceived responsibililty, and betrayal.
- Those with prior vulnerability factors such as genetics, early age of onset and longer-lasting childhood
trauma, lack of functional support, and concurrent stressful life events.
- Those who report greater perceived threat or danger, suffering, upset, terror, and horror or fear.
- Those with a social environment that produces shame, guilt, stigmatization, or self-hatred.
There is help for those suffering from PTSD! Following considerable empirical scrutiny, cognitive-behavioral
therapy (CBT) has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for PTSD. There are several components to CBT, some of
which will be discussed here. Those discussed have a strong evidence base. Those include:
- Exposure Therapy
- Trauma-Focused Therapy
- Cognitive Restructuring
Thought-Field Therapy is another component of EMDR. It is emerging as an evidence-based practice
and will also be discussed.
Finally, brain structures in relation to PTSD will be reviewed along with pharmacological treatment, which
shows some efficacy.