What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when a person has been exposed to trauma. This includes accidents, serious injury or even witnessing a fatality. Nightmares, accident flashbacks, and heightened anxiety for a prolonged period may be signs of PTSD. Unfortunately, many insurance companies want to insist that this condition simply ‘passes after a few weeks’ and is not serious.
We have had many clients who had PTSD as a result of their serious injuries, or seeing loved ones injured or even killed in an accident. Many have developed depression, severe anxiety, and avoidant behaviours. Without proper treatment, PTSD may become unbearable and cause a person to spiral psychologically, ruining careers, relationships, and future plans.
The primary treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy, but can also include medication. Combining these treatments can help to improve symptoms by teaching skills to cope and reframe trauma, treating co-morbid depression, anxiety, or addiction, and relaxation techniques. The types of psychotherapy usually employed include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) This type of talk therapy helps you recognize the ways of thinking (cognitive patterns) that are keeping you stuck. This could be negative beliefs about yourself and the risk of traumatic things happening again. For PTSD, cognitive behavioural therapy is often combined with exposure therapy.
This behavioral therapy helps you safely face situations and memories that you find frightening to learn to cope with them effectively. Exposure therapy can be particularly helpful for flashbacks and nightmares. Guided sessions with virtual reality programs allow you to re-enter the setting in which you experienced trauma and reframe them.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help you process traumatic memories differently so that they are no longer physically and emotionally draining. EMDR aims to reduce symptoms of trauma by changing how your memories are stored in your brain by leading you through a series of bilateral (side-to-side) eye movements as you recall traumatic or triggering experiences in small segments. EMDR may also help relieve symptoms of other mental health concerns, especially those intertwined with past trauma.
Insurance companies may deny you benefits to access these types of therapy because of treatment costs compared with usual physical rehabilitation. We understand how difficult it is to experience an invisible illness and have assisted many clients with denied claims for PTSD. We are available to speak with you and answer your questions.