Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined by symptoms in three categories: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and hyperarousal symptoms. After an event which is life-threatening or horrifying, it is normal to experience some difficulty. However, if 3 months after the event you are still experiencing symptoms such as nightmares, intrusive memories, emotional disturbance at reminders of the trauma, avoidance of things associated with the trauma, avoidance of conversations and thoughts about the trauma, difficulty sleeping, numbing, reduced pleasure in life, over-alertness to danger, or exaggerated startle response, then you may have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Sometimes, people have symptoms of PTSD related to childhood abuse. In this case, the symptoms may come and go over time. In addition, you may not realize that you have PTSD because you are so used to the symptoms that they feel like a normal part of life. Unlike a sudden trauma like a motor vehicle accident, childhood abuse is often chronic over several years, leaving adult survivors with more complex PTSD.
Whether you struggle with a history of abuse, or you have experienced a single trauma like a car accident or exposure to events related to the 9/11 attacks, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective intervention.
As a therapist, I am particularly committed to helping trauma survivors, and I completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship at the NYU Institute for Trauma and Stress working with adult survivors of childhood abuse and 9/11 survivors.
Insight is Good. Change is Better.
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