'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 system disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either 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 defense 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 problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD 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. PTSD symptoms usually begin early, within three months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes, PTSD 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.

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

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

What treatments are effective for PTSD?

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 behavior therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-depressants. We will work with you to determine the treatment that is right for you.

What are some the symptoms people develop with PTSD?

PTSD can cause many types of symptoms. 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?

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.