PTSD Treatment Scottsdale | Phoenix
Psychologists and psychiatrists at Shier Private Practice in Scottsdale, AZ specialize in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our private outpatient clinic offers a comprehensive psychiatric/medical assessment and treatment plan. Treatment may include medications, behavioral therapies or a combination of treatments.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a trauma/stress related disorder that may develop following a witnessed traumatic event such as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. The affected individual may subsequently develop chronic symptoms that may include nightmares, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thoughts.
What are the Symptoms of PTSD?
The DSM-5 Criteria defines PTSD as:
A. Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one (more more) of the following ways:
- Directly experiencing the traumatic event .
- Witnessing, in person, the event as it occurred to others.
- Learning that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend. In cases of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend, the event must have been violent or accidental.
- Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event.
B. Presence of one (or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event, beginning after the traumatic event occurred:
- Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event.
- Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content an/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event.
- Dissociative reactions (e.g. flashbacks) in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event were recurring.
- Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
- Marked physiologic reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event, beginning after the traumatic event occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following:
- Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event.
- Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event.
D. Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event, beginning or worsening after the traumatic even occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
- Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event.
- Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world.
- Persistent distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event that lead to the individual to blame himself/herself or others.
- Persistent negative emotional state (e.g. fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame).
- Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities.
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.
- Persistent inability to experience positive emotions.
E. Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with traumatic events, beginning or worsening after the traumatic event occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
- Irritable behavior and angry outburts (with little or no provocations) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects.
- Reckless or self-destructive behavior.
- Exaggerated startle response.
- Problems with concentration.
- Sleep disturbance
The duration of symptoms B, C, D, E are present for greater than 1 month.
What is the Cause of PTSD?
In the United States, the projected lifetime risk for PTSD is 8.7%. Not all individuals who experience a traumatic event develop symptoms of PTSD. The risk of onset and severity of PTSD is complex and may involve a variety of factors including the individual’s lifetime experiences, genetics, inherited mental health risks, temperament/personality, and response to stress.
Treatment of PTSD involves medications and/or behavioral therapies.
First-line medications used in the treatment of PTSD include Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIS) such as Zoloft/Sertraline and Paxil/Paroxetine and Serotonin Noradrenergic Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Effexor/Venlafaxine
Psychotherapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).
How to Cope
- Self-care and basic needs – Make sure you are taking care of yourself and getting plenty of rest.
- Eat well and get exercise – Maintain a healthy physical status. Good diet and exercise provides significant psychological benefits and can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Relaxation and meditation – Learn how to control your breathing and ease your muscle tension when you are feeling depressed or anxious.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol – Avoid self-medicating as this may worsen PTSD symptoms and increase your risk for physical health issues.
- Seek support from friends and family- Avoid long periods of social isolation as this may worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Join a support group – Join a support groups. Support groups will help you meet others with similar experiences, share coping strategies, and gain a sense empowerment and connection.
The content on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.