You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before, and that my love is bravery.

Edmonton PTSD Counselling & Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a stressful event — either through experiencing it or witnessing it. PTSD symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event.

It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic event or situation as fear triggers the body and mind’s natural defence system to defend or avoid the trauma. This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect us from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience symptoms may be diagnosed with or develop PTSD. People who have PTSD symptoms may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger. It’s important to note that not everyone diagnosed with PTSD has experienced or been through a dangerous situation.

Therapy That is Right For You

PTSD symptoms usually begin early, within three months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes, symptoms begin years afterward. PTSD symptoms must last for more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The course of PTSD varies. Some people recover within six months, while others have PTSD symptoms that last much longer. In some people, PTSD becomes chronic.

Our treatment methods include using cognitive-behavioural and mindful-based therapy strategies to help you manage and take back control of your life. We believe that in understanding your thought processes, you can begin to explore why certain stimuli trigger certain behaviours and begin the path of healing by learning strategies that will help negate these negative reactions.

If you are looking for Edmonton PTSD counselling or therapy, Greenspan Psychology can help. Call our office for a free consultation at 780-901-2638.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an individual must have all of the following:

  • Re-experiencing symptoms/intrusive symptoms, e.g. intrusive memories, nightmares, and flashbacks.
  • Avoidance of distressing trauma-related stimuli and triggers.
  • Changes in arousal and reactivity e.g. feeling irritable, being hypervigilant, having sleep disturbances, and self-destructive or reckless behavior.
  • Negative changes to mood and thoughts, e.g. amnesia, distorted feelings of blame, decreased interest, and an inability to experience positive emotions.

Frequently Asked Questions to Our Edmonton Psychologists

What are the most effective treatments?

If you have difficult thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, or if you feel you’re having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your doctor or mental health professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from worsening.

A number of treatment techniques can be used with varying degrees of success. Occasionally different techniques are combined with one another depending on the patient. Some treatment techniques that are effective include cognitive behaviour therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-depressants. We will work with you to determine the PTSD treatment that is right for you.

What are some the symptoms that develop with PTSD?

PTSD can cause many types of symptoms. The symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the traumatic event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily life tasks. The symptoms can be generally grouped into three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyper-arousal symptoms.

Sometimes people experience serious symptoms that dissipate after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, it might be PTSD. In some cases, individuals with PTSD won’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.

Why do some people experience PTSD symptoms and others do not?

PTSD symptoms can vary in intensity over time. In general, you may have more PTSD symptoms when you’re stressed or when you come across reminders of what you went through.

However, not everyone who lives through a dangerous event experiences post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, most will not experience any symptoms. That is because many factors play a part in whether a person will get PTSD. Some of these are called risk factors and can result in a person being more likely to get PTSD. Other factors, called resilience factors, can help reduce the risk of PTSD symptoms. These risk and resilience factors are sometimes present before the trauma and become important during and after a traumatic event. Contact us today if you wish to learn more about PTSD.

What are the 'stages' of PTSD?

There are 4 stages of PTSD. The first stage is Impact or “Emergency” Stage. This phase occurs immediately after the traumatic event. At this point, the affected individual is struggling to come to terms with the shock of what happened. He or she will be highly anxious, hypervigilant, and possibly struggling with guilt. The second stage is Denial, and not everyone experiences it.

The third stage is Short-term Recovery where immediate solutions to problems are addressed. The fourth stage is Long-term Recovery where the individual will continue to deal with the after-effects of their trauma, such as anxiety and nightmares. However, with treatment, these negative symptoms can be reduced and eventually completely overcome.

How does PTSD manifest in individuals?

There are different ways that PTSD can manifest depending on the individual. A person with PTSD can experience the physical sensations of panic attacks, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and hot flashes. However, these attacks are brought on by the re-experiencing of the traumatic event through such experiences as dreams, thoughts, and flashbacks.

How do you calm a PTSD attack?

First, you need to learn the symptoms of PTSD in order to correctly identify them. Help remind them of their surroundings (for example, ask them to look around the room and describe out loud what they see). Encourage them to take deep, slow breathes (hyperventilating will increase feelings of panic). Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them. Ask before you touch them. Always remember to create a sense of safety for the person. 

What is the difference between PTSD and anxiety?

PTSD is a form of anxiety disorder that is primarily diagnosed following a traumatic experience. Many PTSD symptoms overlap with anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD.  It is believed that about 1 in 6 individuals suffering from PTSD also suffer from GAD symptoms. To learn more about anxiety and the different forms of anxiety disorders that we offer counselling for, visit our anxiety page or give our office a call for your free consultation.