Passionate & Professional
Our PTSD Treatment in San Diego
The event may have happened yesterday. It may have happened a decade ago. Whenever it was, that trauma changed things for you or someone you love. It left behind anxiety, nightmares, and fear of ordinary, everyday events: post-traumatic stress disorder.
Though the experiences may feel monumental, there is help and hope available at the Mental Health Center of San Diego. Participating in treatment at MHCSD can help bring your life back to normal again.
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and What Causes It?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that occurs after living through trauma resulting in exaggerated fear in normal life, flashbacks, and feelings of danger. Post-traumatic stress disorder causes changes both physiologically and mentally. Treating it means tackling both. It can also mean confronting the causes in psychotherapy.
The Impact of Trauma on the Brain
When scientists take images of the brains of people who experience PTSD, they can see physical changes. One is a hypersensitive amygdala. Your amygdala is supposed to tell you when there is danger -– it’s meant to save your life. But when you have PTSD, your amygdala lies to you and says there is danger in safe situations.
Another place where changes occur is the prefrontal cortex. This should help you manage your emotional responses, but in PTSD, your prefrontal cortex essentially takes the day off without leaving anyone to modulate emotions. Both of these brain changes result from exposure to severe trauma or repeated traumatic experiences. Trauma-targeted therapies can help reverse these changes.
After a sexual assault, it is common for survivors to feel some level of trauma. When this passes into a state where doing normal things that once felt safe to them –– such as walking around their neighborhood at night or going to a party with friends –– no longer feels safe, they may be experiencing PTSD.
Violence and Combat
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder gained its notoriety when first applied to soldiers who had returned from the Vietnam War. For those who lived through violence and combat, the possibility of developing PTSD is significant.
They may be innocent bystanders in war zones, victims of gang violence, or soldiers in combat. All become equally vulnerable to unknown threats, repeated trauma, and extended periods of uncertainty, potentially resulting in PTSD.
Many people are surprised to find themselves experiencing feelings of anxiety or vivid, unwanted memories after surviving an accident. After all, they walked away, didn’t they?
What they must come to realize is that survival can be traumatic. Whether you suffered minor injuries in a car accident or experienced a sudden fall while horseback riding, you may be vulnerable to symptoms of PTSD. While they had a positive outcome, these traumas can still affect your brain and emotions the same as other traumas.
What Are Signs and Symptoms of PTSD?
Some of the earliest signs and symptoms of PTSD may be intrusive vivid memories when faced with a situation similar to how trauma occurred. People with PTSD may experience fight or flight symptoms, hypervigilance that expresses itself in a desire to keep their back to a wall versus an open doorway, or nightmares.