Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a major impact on life. If you are struggling with trauma, trauma and PTSD treatment centers can help. Residential PTSD programs offer a private, secluded place where the emphasis is on treatment. Here you can get some respite from trauma triggers in the outside world to focus on healing and recovery.
What Is Trauma?
Traumatic events are events that are shocking, dangerous or frightening in some way. It’s natural and common to have a strong emotional reaction to trauma. Sometimes people who experience trauma recover within a few days to a few weeks. However, some people go on to have a more complicated trauma reaction. This is called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
Some events that can cause trauma reactions include:
- Physical or sexual assault
- Being a victim of domestic violence
- Emotional or physical neglect or abuse
- Taking part in military combat or being in a war zone
- Living through war or a natural disaster
- Having a life-threatening illness or injury
The Relationship Between Trauma and PTSD
Not everyone who lives through trauma will develop PTSD. However, PTSD is much more common than most people realize. The National Institute of Mental Health states that 7% to 8% of people develop PTSD in their lives.
People react to trauma in different ways. Some people become irritable, angry, anxious or depressed. Others suppress their emotions about the event. For some people, trauma triggers alcohol or drug abuse, or an eating disorder. And for some, the reaction to trauma develops into PTSD.
The reasons why people’s reactions are so different aren’t well understood. Research shows that some people are more stress-resistant. That means they are better able to cope with the stress of living through trauma. This might be for biological reasons or because they have learned effective ways of coping with stress. Most likely it’s a combination of both.
Neurobiology research has provided some clues about how PTSD develops. The symptoms people have in PTSD are thought to be the result of stress-induced changes in brain chemistry and brain structure. In a stress response, the brain produces chemicals such as cortisol and norepinephrine. The more stress someone feels, the more of these chemicals they produce. In a traumatic event, these chemicals flood the brain. This is thought to lead to long-term changes in how someone responds to these chemicals. These changes are what cause the symptoms of PTSD.
Most people who live through a traumatic event experience some form of acute stress disorder. However, not everyone goes on to develop PTSD. People are more vulnerable to PTSD if they don’t receive specialized support after experiencing a traumatic event.
Acute Stress Disorder
This is a kind of trauma response that people have soon after a traumatic event. It starts within a month of the event and lasts for at least 3 days. You must have at least 9 of the following symptoms to be diagnosed with acute stress disorder.
- Intense or prolonged distress in response to trauma triggers
- A persistent negative mood and inability to have positive emotions
- Unable to remember details about the trauma
- You try to avoid thinking about or remembering the trauma
- You make significant efforts to avoid anything that might trigger trauma memories
- Irritable or angry, or shows physical or verbal aggression
- Depersonalization or derealization
- Dissociative episodes which involve reliving the event
- Unwanted and persistent memories about the event
- Distressing and persistent dreams about the event
- Insomnia and/or sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- An exaggerated startle response
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
The type of trauma someone experiences doesn’t necessarily correlate with their risk of PTSD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines trauma as an event that fits into one of the following categories:
- The threat of death (for instance, being in a major traffic accident can cause PTSD, even you aren’t seriously injured)
- Threatened or actual serious injury
- Threatened or actual sexual violence
- In addition, you don’t need to experience these events yourself firsthand to develop PTSD. Witnessing trauma can be as traumatic as actually experiencing it and can trigger the disorder. More rarely, hearing about the traumatic experience of a loved one can cause PTSD.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have symptoms from each of four different categories. The symptoms must last for at least 1 month and cause significant distress or disruption in your daily life.
The categories include:
- Re-experiencing symptoms: Nightmares, flashbacks or intrusive thoughts about the trauma.
- Avoidance symptoms: Avoiding things triggers memories or thoughts about the trauma.
- Cognitive and mood symptoms: May include depression, anxiety or memory loss. Some people may feel guilt or shame or blame themselves for what happened to them.
- Arousal and reactivity symptoms: May include hypervigilance, a state in which someone is constantly alert and on the lookout for danger. Other symptoms include tension, irritability, and insomnia.
Complex PTSD is a subtype of PTSD that some people develop if they experience ongoing trauma. For instance, someone who is the victim of ongoing abuse as a child may develop complex PTSD. This kind of PTSD can also develop in an adult victim of domestic abuse. Someone who experiences human trafficking or who lives in a region affected by war is likewise at risk of complex PTSD.
People with complex PTSD have other kinds of symptoms besides the standard PTSD symptoms. They include:
- Difficulty regulating emotions
- Dissociative episodes (mentally disconnecting from surroundings)
- Feelings of despair and helplessness
- Social isolation due to significant distrust of others
- Fixation on whoever is responsible for their trauma
These symptoms are directly related to the fact that the trauma is ongoing, rather than a one-time event. Take dissociation for example. When someone, especially a child, experiences ongoing sexual abuse, they may start to mentally dissociate. This can take many forms, such as spacing out or even perceiving themselves as outside their body. This is the mind’s way of removing themselves from a horrific situation they can’t otherwise escape.
What Happens in PTSD Treatment?
Treatment for PTSD focuses on therapy to explore and process trauma. Some people also benefit from medication such as anti-depressants or mood stabilizers.
The treatment process can involve multiple stages depending on your needs and any co-occurring conditions. For instance, it might involve detox, followed by residential treatment and then an outpatient program.
It’s common for people with PTSD to have a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, especially with an alcohol or drug addiction.
If you have a substance abuse disorder, you may need to undergo a medical detox before starting a treatment program. Medical detox means you’re under the care of medical professionals when you withdraw from alcohol or drugs. This helps you medical drug detox safely and minimizes your discomfort during the process.
Residential PTSD Treatment
In a residential PTSD program, you stay at a treatment center. You spend most of your time each day taking part in various types of therapy and other activities that support your recovery.
For people with PTSD, a residential program can be an ideal way to start recovery. It gives you the chance to explore and process your trauma in a safe place.
Outpatient Treatment Programs
Residential treatment isn’t always the best choice. Some people have real-life obligations they can’t put on hold for an inpatient program. Some don’t need the high-level care of an inpatient treatment program. They may get more benefit from outpatient treatment. Outpatient drug rehabs are also a good step-down approach after you finish a residential program. You can keep the focus on recovery as you transition back to your normal routine.
There are two kinds of outpatient program: partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient.
- Partial hospitalization: In a PHP, clients spend five days a week at a treatment center. It’s similar in content and focus to a residential program, but clients don’t live at the center. Instead, they spend nights and weekends at their own home, or in a sober-living home.
- Intensive outpatient: These programs involve spending around 10 hours a week at a treatment center for therapy and support activities.
Up to 80% of people with PTSD have a co-occurring disorder. This might be a substance abuse disorder, an eating disorder or a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression. For people with PTSD, self-destructive behavior is a way of numbing the emotional pain caused by the trauma.
If you have PTSD and a co-occurring disorder, it’s important to receive treatment for both at the same time. This ensures you get the help you need to process your trauma and progress in your recovery.
PTSD Treatment with Promises Behavioral Health
Promises Behavioral Health inpatient and residential PTSD treatment and co-occurring disorders. With a compassionate staff and a warm environment, our treatment centers offer you the chance to put your recovery first.
In treatment, you’ll have access to therapy and a range of support activities. These are designed to help you process your trauma so you can start to move past it. Your customized treatment plan could include some of the following activities:
- Art or music therapy
- Psychodrama therapy
- Stress or anger management therapy
- 12-step groups
- 12-step alternatives such as SMART Recovery®
- The Daring WayTM shame resilience program
- Equine therapy
- Fitness and recreational activities
- Promises Behavioral Health’s treatment centers offer PTSD programs in locations across the country, including 5 Palms in Ormond Beach, Florida; Promises in Austin, Texas; and
- The Ranch in Nunnelly, Tennessee. Other locations provide addiction treatment with PTSD as a co-occurring disorder.
PTSD is a diagnosis included in the DSM-5. As such, Marketplace insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should provide coverage for evidence-based treatment, including therapy and medication. Veterans have the option of finding insurance via the VA. Employers aren’t required by law to provide insurance coverage for mental health treatment, but most employer plans do cover mental health care.
Promises Behavioral Health treatment centers partner with multiple insurance providers. We offer in-network treatment for clients with preferred provider organization insurance plans. In some cases, we can offer out-of-network options.
Call any time, and one of our recovery specialists can help you navigate the insurance process. We can confirm your insurance eligibility, work out what benefits you can access and maximize your available coverage. If you choose one of our treatment centers, we’ll handle the entire process for you from start to finish. Your only job is to focus on recovery.
Your Recovery Could Start Today. Are You Ready?
You can’t control the traumatic events you’ve faced, but you can make a choice right now to seek treatment. Your recovery might be just around the corner.
If you’re struggling to deal with trauma, call Promises Behavioral Health. We provide the trauma and PTSD treatment that may be the key to helping you move forward.