Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — by either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Many people who experience traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a period of time, but they do not have PTSD. With time and proper self-care, symptoms recede and individuals return to normal functioning. The diagnosis of PTSD is given when symptoms get worse (lasts for months or even years) and interfere with one’s ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop is imperative in order to reduce symptoms and restore optimal functioning.

PTSD affects 3.5% of the U.S. adult population, approximately  7.7 million Americans and 37% of PTSD cases are classified as severe. 


PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, or changes in emotional reactions.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative feelings about yourself or other people
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened


MPS PLLC clinicians specialize in the psychotherapy treatment of PTSD. Post-traumatic stress is treated and managed in several ways, including but not limited to:

  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral, cognitive-processing, mindfulness, and relaxation therapies
  • Self-management strategies, including psychoeducation and self-soothing strategies

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Psychotherapy is a collaborative process which aims to foster positive change, and in turn leads to an improved quality of life. Beginning psychotherapy is often the first step toward becoming the healthiest version of yourself, regardless of the challenges you are facing. MPS provides Psychotherapy for Couples, Adults and Teens.

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