Most individuals we treat at The Ranch addiction and mental health rehab program have underlying issues of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that fuel substance abuse, depression, anxiety, codependency, eating disorders or hypersexual behavior. A common misconception is that PTSD can only result from a catastrophic event such as military combat, assault or a natural disaster; however, there are many types of trauma that are more subtle, but just as emotionally damaging.
The Ranch mental health center and drug rehab provides comprehensive complex trauma and PTSD treatment for survivors of childhood and/or adult trauma. Learn more about our PTSD inpatient treatment or call 844-876-7680.
What Is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a medical diagnosis given when trauma-related symptoms persist and interrupt daily life. Considered an anxiety disorder, it is treated with a variety of approaches from counseling and relaxation techniques to psychiatric services and medications as well as specialized trauma therapies like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Somatic Experiencing®. For some, PTSD requires intensive support and therapy in a PTSD treatment center.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD is caused by exposure to various types of trauma. A direct, firsthand experience, for example, such as assault victimization or involvement in an accident, a life-threatening illness or natural or manmade disaster can cause the type of trauma reaction seen in PTSD. Witnessing the plight of others who are in danger, suffering, or who are seriously injured or killed, as well as learning about traumatic events that others have experienced can also cause PTSD.
Exposure to the following can result in PTSD:
- The possibility or actuality of one’s own serious injury or loss of physical integrity (extreme violation)
- The possibility of one’s own death
- The possibility or actuality of another’s serious injury or loss of physical integrity
- The possibility or actuality of another’s death
Traumatic exposure causes severe emotional and psychological effects such as intense fear and helplessness. In PTSD-related trauma, one is abruptly confronted with overwhelming life circumstances and adverse consequences that induce trauma symptoms.
Types of PTSD Symptoms
Post-traumatic stress disorder manifests as clinically significant and persisting trauma symptoms for more than one month. PTSD symptoms are grouped into three major categories:
A central characteristic of PTSD is re-experiencing the traumatic event(s). This usually occurs with distressful memories and intrusive thoughts (unwanted thoughts that occur spontaneously as if “intruding”). Both of these symptoms, if severe enough, can interfere with concentration, decision-making, problem-solving, mood stability, sense of well-being, performance and participation in daily events.
Re-experiencing symptoms are considered clinically significant if they interfere with important areas of functioning such as the performance of one’s usual social, occupational, or family roles and routines. Distressful memories and intrusive thoughts can also interrupt sleep, affect appetite and interfere with other types of self-care and health maintenance activities. If severe and persistent enough, these cognitive symptoms can occur in all life situations, seriously affecting all realms of normal functioning.
Traumatic events may also be re-experienced in dreams or nightmares. The trauma may be relived in dreams that replay actual events or in dreams and nightmares that relate to the trauma in more symbolic and exaggerated ways. Fear and helplessness are typical reactions resulting from these types of dreams. These trauma symptoms can cause an individual to have chronically inadequate sleep and to resist sleep altogether.
Another form of re-experiencing is commonly called flashbacks. These are intense experiences of reliving trauma while awake. They are brief periods of dissociation in which the past event seems to be occurring in the present. Flashbacks are disorienting and very distressing experiences. The fear, helplessness and/or horror of the original situation are vividly relived and some will respond to them as if the trauma is actually happening again. These are called dissociative experiences because one is abruptly separated or detached (dissociated) from the actual present situation and events.
Numbing and Avoidance Trauma Symptoms
Trauma symptoms can manifest as “shutting down” or unresponsiveness to one’s current experience. “Numbing” or dulled emotions and sensations cause a lack of interest and diminished participation in usual interactions and activities.
Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event is a common PTSD symptom. One may actively avoid discussing the event and try to avoid memories, thoughts and feelings about the trauma. Avoidance can significantly interrupt the daily routine as some individuals will seclude themselves, withdrawing from interactions and usual activities or go to other great lengths to avoid reminders of the trauma.
Hyperarousal Trauma Symptoms
A state of increased arousal is typical in PTSD. Elevated levels of fear, distrust, watchfulness (hypervigilance) and anxiety are usual symptoms. Wakefulness, physical agitation, irritability and being easily startled are common manifestations of arousal that persist and interrupt usual functioning. Hyperarousal symptoms are symptoms of alertness and increased energy experienced in situations of danger. In PTSD, these continue well past the time of actual danger.
Types of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
There are three different types of post-traumatic stress disorder. Each is a distinct medical diagnosis. Onset and duration of trauma symptoms are indicated by the specific diagnoses.
The three types of PTSD:
Acute Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Acute post-traumatic stress disorder involves symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance and hyperarousal that last less than three months.
Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Chronic post-traumatic stress disorder involves symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance and hyperarousal that persist for three months or longer.
Delayed Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
In delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder, symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance and hyperarousal begin after at least six months have passed since the traumatic event.
Treatments for PTSD and Complex Trauma at The Ranch
Our staff is trained in the latest, evidence-based trauma therapies and helps individuals begin to heal from the effects of trauma through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Somatic Experiencing®, equine therapy, experiential role-play therapy, ropes course and adventure therapy, Tai Chi, therapeutic/spiritual ceremony, journaling and medication management.
Our PTSD program stresses the mind-body-spirit connection and is geared toward a full exploration of feelings and messages received during traumatic experiences within a safe, “containing” environment. Clients have the opportunity to experience empowerment by fully expressing feelings in a non-judgmental space and to change negative beliefs about self, others and a higher power. Learn more about trauma treatment at The Ranch mental health and drug and alcohol rehab in Tennessee or call 844-876-7680.