Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in certain individuals who experience a traumatic event which may involve a threat of harm, danger, or death. PTSD sometimes occurs when a person witnesses an accident, natural disaster or other type of violence. Soldiers, for example, who experience combat sometimes develop PTSD. Other instances that might trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder include living in a combat area, experiencing physical or domestic abuse or rape, or surviving a life-threatening injury, illness, or natural disaster. Any event that causes fright, helplessness or terror can trigger PTSD. The resulting stress after such an event is an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD include sleep problems, nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, or feelings of guilt, detachment or paranoia. Flashbacks are troubling, realistic memories of the traumatic event that create great distress for the sufferer. Some sufferers of PTSD may experience extreme anxiety that the traumatic event is recurring. Others may be unable to talk about the traumatic event or feel unable to express feelings or emotions with those unrelated to the tragedy. They feel very alone and isolated. Another symptom is extreme tension which can cause anger or irritability and manifest in the body. Other symptoms include having an unexplainable fear, becoming easily startled or experiencing difficulty with concentration. Many individuals report that they feel detached and disconnected as if they aren’t a part of their surroundings. This can feel troubling for PTSD sufferers. PTSD left untreated can impair a person’s ability to function on a daily basis, at work and in personal relationships.
Although the actual cause of PTSD is not determined, doctors believe that chemicals released during the tragic event alter the function of the brain in some form. Because not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops PTSD, experts have determined that the disorder is more likely to occur in certain types of people. Those who are likely to develop PTSD might have additional mental health conditions, either personally or in their family, or may have experienced serious disturbances during childhood which has made them more vulnerable to developing PTSD.
Someone who experiences PTSD symptoms for over one month should seek help from a mental health professional or medical doctor. Interviews and questionnaires administered by a professional can help diagnose Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Counseling and drug therapy are effective forms of treatment. Relaxation and somatic therapies such as EMDR therapy and Somatic Experiencing are also helpful to some PTSD sufferers. EMDR therapy and Mindfulness is quite effective in reducing symptoms and is used and studied extensively in the Veteran population.
Organizations that provide additional information on PTSD include the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, National Alliance for Mental Illness, National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD Alliance and the David Lynch Foundation.
Kim Seelbrede is a psychotherapist, EMDR therapist and integrative therapist with a private practice in New York City. In her Manhattan therapy practice, Kim has experience addressing the following concerns: relationships, marital difficulties, divorce, parenting, career, professional performance enhancement, anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, depression, loss/grief, adolescent psychotherapy, underachievement, perfectionism, identity issues, LGBT, body image, eating disorders, addiction, substance abuse, sexuality, PTSD, trauma, stress reduction, transitions, life purpose, health concerns, women’s issues, therapy for men, pain management and wellness. Kim Seelbrede has advanced training in EMDR therapy and Brainspotting and uses it with clients who prefer to work in this way, or when she feels it is a technique that will be helpful for the client. Clients include CEOS, senior executives, entrepreneurs, financial analysts, performers and creative individuals with a focus on helping them identify and remove barriers to success and happiness. Kim Seelbrede offers adjunctive EMDR, meditation and yoga therapy to medical and mental health professionals in New York City.
Kim holds a graduate degree from New York University (MSW) and received advanced post-graduate training inpsychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) from New York University. Kim uses an eclectic approach which draws from attachment theory, object relations theory, self-psychology, ego-psychology, family systems, CBT, crisis counseling and solution-focused therapy with her clients as needed. Kim has pursued advanced education in the fields of psychology, wellness and complementary health care for nearly 10 years. Kim draws from extensive education and life experiences including training from the Urban Zen Integrative Therapist Program (UZIT) during which she completed clinical rotations working directly with cancer and surgical patients at Hope Lodge and at Beth Israel Medical Center and has studied nutritional theories from leading experts in the field. Kim Seelbrede is an integrative healthcare blogger for the Urban Zen Foundation.