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PTSD Treatment Services

Our Therapists Provide Evidence-Based Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

Those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exhibit two or more of the following behaviors:

  • Difficulty in remembering essential parts of the traumatic event(s), not from alcohol use, drug use, or head injury
  • Ongoing self-defeating talk, negative perceptions about others, or the state of the world
  • Obsessive self-blame or blaming others about the cause-and-effect of traumatic event(s)
  • A continuous state of fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Noticeably reduced interest or participation in once-loved activities
  • Detaching from others
  • Unable to experience joy or other positive feelings

And exhibiting two or more of the following:

  • Aggressiveness or irritability
  • Self-destructive or risky behavior(s)
  • Overly vigilant or heightened alertness
  • Amplified response to surprises or being startled
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irregular sleep patterns (hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or have restless sleep)

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects people differently. The above symptoms provide a guideline as to how the disorder can present.

How does PTSD start?

There are many root causes for the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. The onset of stress can bring about varying symptoms of anxiety. PTSD is an escalated and ongoing form of anxiety that compromises behavioral, mental, and physical well-being.

People living with PTSD can attest to experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Traumatic event(s), such as the threat of death, a life-altering injury, or sexual assault (physical, emotional, sexual)
  • Witnessing traumatic event(s) occur in others
  • Learning of a traumatic event that happened to a loved one, violent or accidental, such as death or the threat of death, life-altering injury, or sexual assault
  • Coming into contact with an actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation in others, either by accident or through work (i.e., first responders, military). This can also include repeatedly mentioning details or accounting of the traumatic event(s).

Some people with PTSD develop the condition within one month after the traumatic episode occurred. Others who experienced some sort of trauma decades earlier or instances of ongoing traumatic events may suppress the signs and then exhibit the sensations of post-traumatic stress disorder years later.

One or more of the following characterizes the onset of PTSD:

  • The body negatively reacts to reminders of the traumatic event(s)
  • Recurring dreams where the trauma is replayed or the feelings about the trauma
  • Flashbacks occur about the traumatic event
  • Episodes of dissociative behavior occur through detachment, distorted perception of people and events, and memory loss
  • Lack of emotional coping mechanisms
  • Irrational, animated outbursts or reactions to situations and conversations that exceed what would be considered normal, especially when exposed to psychological triggers of the trauma(s)
  • Replaying the traumatic event(s), passively or actively

Why do people get PTSD?

Not everyone who goes through a traumatic event will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But why, then, will some and not others? Every person, even young people, will build a personal life history based on experiences.

Through these experiences, genetics, and neurobiology, we gain risk and resilience factors that increase or decrease our ability to handle stressful encounters. These factors contribute to why many first responders, for example, will face traumatic events, but not all will develop PTSD.

What is the Connection Between PTSD, Drug Abuse, and Alcoholism?

In one study, 46% of PTSD patients also have a substance use disorder. Individuals with PTSD may be more inclined to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol and drugs. These substances offer temporary relief from negative emotions but lead to devastating consequences.

Working with a clinically licensed psychologist, patients can take part in therapy sessions to work to reduce the symptoms of PTSD, contributing to substance abuse.

How is PTSD treated?

We recommend getting a mental health assessment from a psychiatrist or medical doctor. Sometimes medication may be needed to help mitigate symptoms of the condition. Through ongoing psychotherapy, medication monitoring, and holistic practices such as meditation, exercise, and a healthy diet, PTSD can be effectively managed.

Through the use of healthy coping skills and ongoing therapy such as Eye Movement Desensitization Response (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), patients with PTSD can live a productive life.


PTSD symptoms may be triggered by something in an individual’s environment or may appear for no apparent reason. The key to overcoming the overwhelming thoughts and emotions caused by PTSD is to ground oneself.

This can look different for everyone, but some common techniques to use include:

  • Practicing deep breathing and breathing exercises
  • Positive self-talk with reassuring affirmations (“Everything is okay,” “You’re safe”)
  • Carrying comfort objects, such as a blanket or item that reminds you of the present
  • Journaling or using a diary to record your thoughts at the moment and afterward can also help you determine triggers
  • Use grounding techniques, such as counting colors in the environment or tapping your fingers in a rhythmic pattern.

There are a variety of coping skills that could be deemed “unhealthy” when dealing with PTSD. The most common and often most damaging of these include substance use, self-isolation, and self-harm.

PTSD episodes will look different depending on the individual, the severity of their condition, and the current episode they are experiencing.

Many people with PTSD will describe their episodes as having one or more of the following elements:

  • Vivid flashbacks of the traumatic event(s)
  • Intrusive thoughts or mental images
  • Reoccurring or intense nightmares
  • Feeling dread or stress from triggers in your environment
  • Experiencing physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea, or trembling

PTSD may only last for several weeks or months following the traumatic event. For example, an intense car crash may leave an individual fearful of getting on the road again, but they may lose this fear over time and be able to drive without consistent thoughts of the event.

In some cases, PTSD may take years to heal from. This is when therapy and medication help to reduce symptoms over time.

A person’s mental and physical well-being can significantly decrease if their PTSD is left untreated. They may use unhealthy coping mechanisms to soothe their symptoms rather than the tools taught in therapy. This can lead to substance abuse, overconsumption of alcohol, self-harm, and taking part in other risky activities.

People with moderate to severe PTSD may see an increase in the frequency or severity of their symptoms due to stressful experiences and reminders of the events. Similarly, if left untreated, PTSD may worsen with age.

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as complex PTSD, c-PTSD, or CPTSD, is the most severe form of PTSD. Individuals with complex PTSD may have challenges controlling their emotions, specifically anger and distrust, causing them to have a significant impact on their daily lives.