Imagine that you are in a chaotic room with clothes, books, furniture, boxes, equipment, etc. are strown around the floor. Suddenly, someone is coming to visit you in five minutes. What do you do? You throw everything in the closet and hope that the bulging closet stays shut during the visit. After visitor leaves, the closet explodes and chaos reigns on the floor again. Imagine that if you had taken the time to sort, organize and put away the items instead of letting them accumulate on the floor, how much easier it would have been to prepare for a visitor. Imagine the chaos described is your mind after a traumatic event? How much more peace would you have if you were able to process the traumatic event?
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD is a common reaction to a traumatic experience sometimes causing emotional problems. At one point in our lives, we may experience a traumatic experience leading to reactions that are different for each of us. Many people have severe reactions in the immediately after the traumatic experience; however, most people begin to feel better within three months after the event. Others may take longer to recover, which leads to a PTSD diagnosis and needing help from trained specialists to achieve peace.
PTSD is a reaction to exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence through the following ways according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mood Disorders (DSM-5):
- Direct experience
- Witnessing, in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others
- Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend
- Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s)
- Note: The repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s) does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless this exposure is work related.
While each person experiences PTSD differently, here are some common reactions to trauma:
- Fear and anxiety from the shift in one’s world view and sense of safety, which has become more negative.
- Reexperiencing the traumatic event in the form of flashbacks and/or nightmares
- Increased arousal from being constantly in the fight or flight response, which includes feeling jumpy, jittery, and shaky; being easily startled; and having trouble sleeping and concentrating
- Irritability and impatience are also reactions that may occur
- Avoidance of triggers, stimuli, and or situations that may remind of the traumatic event(s)
- Alteration in mood caused by feelings of guilt, shame, grief, and depression
What can AMA Behavioral Therapy do for you to help you with dealing with the PTSD that plagues you?
AMA Behavioral Therapy is a group made up of clinicians skilled in treated anxiety-based disorders including PTSD in individual and group settings for children, adolescents, and adults using evidenced-based treatments. Evidenced-based treatment means that it has been researched and proven effective to treat. Founded in 2009, AMA Behavioral Therapy is representative of the demographics found in San Antonio, TX and the surrounding area and has Spanish-speaking staff.
AMA Behavioral Therapy clinicians are trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based modalities including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE), which are two of the first-line treatments used by the Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense, and the civilian community to treat PTSD.
About Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT):
- Can be implemented in individual and group settings
- On average 12 sessions that can be tailored to be fewer or more sessions
- CPT is focused on teaching an individual to recognize and challenge dysfunctional cognitions about the traumatic experiences and current beliefs about themselves and others
- Addresses the cognitions that affect the resulting emotions in order to change the emotions behind PTSD
For more information on CPT, please see the Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD page.
About Prolonged Exposure (PE):
- Has one of the largest collection of research showing it to be one of the most effective treatments for PTSD
- Ranges from 8 -15 individual sessions
- Focuses on psychoeducation of trauma, repeated in vivo exposure to avoided situations because of trauma-related fear, and prolonged revisiting of the trauma memories and processing
- Addresses the behaviors that result from the emotions and cognitions in order to change the emotions behind PTSD
For more information on PE, please see the Prolonged Exposure for PTSD page.