Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after exposure to a potentially traumatic event that is beyond a typical stressor. Events that may lead to PTSD include, but are not limited to, violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, combat, and other forms of violence.
Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months after experiencing or being exposed to a traumatic event. Occasionally, symptoms may emerge years afterward. The National Alliance on Mental Illness states symptoms of PTSD generally fall into the following categories:
Re-Experiencing Type Symptoms
Symptoms involve recurring, involuntary and intrusive distressing memories. These can include flashbacks of the trauma, bad dreams, and intrusive thoughts.
This looks like staying away from certain places or objects that are reminders of the traumatic event. A person might actively avoid a place or person that might activate overwhelming symptoms.
Cognitive and Mood Symptoms
A person may also feel numb, guilty, worried, or depressed and have difficulty remembering the traumatic event. Cognitive symptoms can in some instances extend to include out-of-body experiences or feeling that the world is “not real” (derealization).
This is most described as hypervigilance. Examples might include being intensely startled by stimuli that resembles the trauma, trouble sleeping, or outbursts of anger.
Traumatic events can be very difficult to overcome alone. Getting professional help to confront your feelings is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. Furthermore, it’s possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it’s never too late to get help.
There are various and effective methods to help people recover from PTSD as each person’s situation is unique. This is why Seven Counties Services offers a wide array of treatment options provided by some of Kentucky’s most qualified mental health professionals. We serve everyone regardless of diagnosis or insurance status and ensure that getting started on a journey to recovery is as easy as possible.
To schedule a first appointment, call (502) 589-1100 or complete an online appointment request.
Reviewed by Jean Romano, LPCC‑S, the Vice President of Adult Services at Seven Counties Services.