Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)

After a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel different. Most people start to feel better within a few weeks. However, if your symptoms last longer, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

At Banner Health, our team provides safe, confidential and compassionate treatment for PTSD with customized treatment plans to meet your needs. If you are suffering from PTSD, Banner Health can help. Getting treatment from a Banner Health mental health care professional can help you on your path of recovery.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is a mental health condition some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as war, a natural disaster, assault or the death of a loved.

When you experience trauma, it’s normal to feel sad, anxious or scared. Generally, these symptoms subside as time passes. However, patients with PTSD continue to have intense, troubling thoughts and feelings. They may fear for their safety, feel hopeless, become detached, have difficulty sleeping, have outbursts of anger and experience flashbacks or nightmares. These symptoms can be triggered by things like a loud noise or accidental touch that cause painful memories, emotional turmoil and physical reactions.

Without treatment, patients can experience PTSD symptoms for years. The longer PTSD goes untreated, the more damage PTSD can cause to patients’ lives. Banner Health’s compassionate team of behavioral health professionals is experienced in treating patients with PTSD to help them feel safe and recover from trauma.

What Causes PTSD?

It is not uncommon to experience trauma. In fact, according to the National Center for PTSD {link to https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp} about 60% of men and 50% of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. While not every person who experiences trauma develops PTSD, approximately 7% to 8% of people do.

Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply troubling event you experience or witness. Patients with PTSD might experience a single trauma, multiple traumas or an ongoing trauma.

Examples of trauma include:

  • Bullying
  • Combat
  • Death of a loved one
  • Emotional abuse
  • Forced displacement
  • Historical trauma (major suffering of a group across generations)
  • Life-threatening event
  • Medical trauma (severe illness, injury or surgery)
  • Natural disasters
  • Neglect
  • Sexual or physical abuse/assault
  • System-induced trauma
  • Violence
  • War/terrorism

What Are Risk Factors for PTSD?

People of all ethnicities, nationalities, cultures and ages can experience PTSD. While it’s unknown why some people develop it and others don’t, factors such as genetics, biology and personal circumstances may contribute.

Risk factors include:

  • Added stress: Dealing with extra stress, such as a job loss or divorce, after your trauma puts you at higher risk
  • Age at trauma: People with childhood trauma are more likely than others to develop PTSD
  • Frequency of trauma: Experiencing an ongoing trauma or multiple traumas increases the chance for PTSD
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD
  • Health: Having a mental illness or other medical condition increases your chances of PTSD
  • Substance use: Having a history of drug or alcohol abuse increases your chances of PTSD
  • Support: Not having support after the event increases your chances of PTSD

Can PTSD Be Prevented?

To reduce your risk of PTSD, it’s important to seek support from others. Talk to your family, friends or doctor about your symptoms. The more support you receive and the sooner you receive treatment, the more likely you are to make a full recovery.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic event and is having PTSD symptoms, Banner Health can help with support and treatment.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms and how they’re experienced vary person-to-person. In general, symptoms begin soon after the traumatic event. However, sometimes symptoms don’t appear until later.

Types of PTSD Symptoms

  • Re-experiencing symptoms: Something triggers a memory of your trauma and you feel fear. You may start sweating, and have trouble breathing, a faster heart rate, flashbacks, nightmares and overwhelming and frightening thoughts.
  • Avoidance symptoms: You avoid certain people, situations or places that remind you of the trauma. You may feel hopeless or detached. You actively avoid thinking about the trauma by staying busy.
  • Hyperarousal symptoms: You may be overly anxious or worried about impending danger. You are constantly thinking about the trauma. You become jittery, have difficulty concentrating and sleeping, and are more prone to outbursts or being startled.
  • Cognition and mood symptoms: You may develop damaging thoughts, beliefs and feelings, such as blame and guilt, negative self-talk and loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.

Untreated, some people with PTSD may drink, smoke or use drugs to reduce anxiety or anger.

Your symptoms also affect those around you. Patients with PTSD may have trouble with relationships such as trust, closeness and communication. In turn, their family and friends may feel increased stress or other negative consequences if someone they love and depend on is suffering from PTSD.

If you have symptoms lasting longer than a month, are in immense suffering, or have trouble at work or home, you might have PTSD. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. The sooner you get help, the better chance you have for a successful recovery.

How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

Banner Health’s mental health care team uses mental health screenings, physical exams and other diagnostic tools to diagnose PTSD. Our goal is to provide compassionate, confidential, accurate care to help you achieve recovery.

Call Banner Health’s Appointment Line at (602) 254-4357 to get started with a brief screening.

Only a health care provider experienced with mental illnesses can diagnose PTSD.

How Is PTSD Treated?

Treatment for PTSD can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life. In general, patients receive psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medication to help them get rid of or better cope with symptoms.

You may feel nervous or unsure about seeking help for PTSD. This is normal. You may even want to avoid talking about your trauma. Your doctor will work with you to design a treatment plan to fit your individual wants and needs. PTSD treatment does work. It can help you enjoy life more by helping you make sense of the trauma, learn how to manage thoughts and feelings, reconnect with loved ones and work toward personal goals.

Banner Behavioral Health Hospital is a nationally recognized, behavioral health care program for children, teens and adults with psychiatric, behavioral health or chemical dependency challenges. Our highly skilled and compassionate staff provide a therapeutic, healing environment, helping patients develop the tools they need to manage life’s stressors.

Learn more about Banner Health mental and behavioral health treatment programs.

Support for PTSD

Talking about what you’re experiencing with your doctor, a mental health care professional or loved ones is the first step on your road to recovery. If you or a family member needs help with a mental health problem, Banner Health’s behavioral health specialists are ready to help. We’re here to provide patients and their families with the best possible care, support and resources.

Learn more about Banner Health mental and behavioral health education and support.