Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD impacts 7-8% of the U.S. population. It can develop after an individual has lived through or witnessed a traumatic event that is shocking, scary or dangerous. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. A traumatic event is one that causes feelings of helplessness, terror and intense fear. Individuals with PTSD can feel stressed or frightened even when they are no longer in danger. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks (unwanted thoughts or images about the traumatic event), nightmares, difficulty sleeping, angry outbursts and feeling easily startled, tense or on edge. Individuals may feel depressed, anxious or guilty and may lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. They may feel emotionally numb or detached from others and may have difficulty remembering some parts of the traumatic event. Individuals with PTSD will usually try to avoid thoughts, feelings or certain situations that remind them of the trauma.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is a specific type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy used to treat PTSD. Numerous studies have shown that PE can significantly reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and anger in survivors of trauma. During PE individuals learn how to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations that they have been avoiding. Facing these feelings and situations helps to reduce the symptoms of PTSD and teaches individuals that trauma-related memories and cues are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided. PE typically takes place over 8-15 sessions. The therapists at The Artemis Center for Guidance are trained in PE and are ready to assist you.