When something extremely stressful happens in our lives (like seeing someone injured or killed, or having our own bodily safety threatened in some way), it can feel overwhelming. We may be troubled by these experiences to varying degrees. Often, we’re able to recover on our own and lead normal lives again—especially with the help of those who care about us.
Sometimes, however, our natural healing process gets interrupted, and we find ourselves struggling with the aftermath of trauma for years afterward.
We may experience intrusive memories of painful experiences, nightmares, or have intense physical or emotional reactions to things that remind us of the event. We may find ourselves withdrawing more and more from people and activities. We may feel “numbed out” emotionally. We may also find ourselves constantly alert for signs of danger, perhaps more irritable with others. These are all signs of what’s called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Many people associate PTSD with combat veterans, but PTSD can be caused by car accidents, life-threatening experiences, physical and sexual assault, or any situation where we fear for our life or of those we care about.
The good news is that there are a number of evidence-based treatments for PTSD rooted in research. If you or someone you know are struggling with some of these difficult experiences, contact us at the Portland Psychotherapy Anxiety Clinic to discuss treatment options. You can also find out more about our approach to PTSD at Portland Trauma Treatment.