Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.

PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as “shell shock” during the years of World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people of any ethnicity, nationality, or culture, and at any age. PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic minorities—U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians–are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.

Online Treatment Options for PTSD

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melaine now offers telepsychiatry to benefit you from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about our telepsychiatry services!

4 Categories of PTSD Symptoms

Symptoms of PTSD most often appear in the first few months after a traumatic event, though it is also possible for these effects to remain dormant until years later. It can be difficult to predict exactly what will trigger a person’s symptoms, as each individual with PTSD is uniquely different.

There are four primary categories that symptoms of PTSD can fall into. These include:

  • Intrusive thoughts: Involuntary memories of the traumatic event that forces the person to relive their experience. These may occur as conscious flashbacks, or during sleep.
  • Avoidance: Individuals with PTSD often try to avoid situations that they believe will trigger a distressing memory of their past trauma. For example, a person who was involved in a serious car accident may try to avoid driving or riding in a car.
  • Negative thoughts and feelings: These often pertain to the individuals themselves, as many believe that they are bad or broken in some way, or have difficulty believing seeing the world as “good” or “safe.”
  • Changes in physical or emotional reactions: People with PTSD are generally more easily startled and “on edge,” which causes many to react more intensely to certain stimuli around them.

PTSD is diagnosed when an individual experiences the symptoms listed above for longer than one month. Many individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder will also develop related psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety disorders or depressive disorders.

Risk Factors to Consider

There are a few known factors that can increase an individual’s risk for developing this disorder, including:

  • Added stress after a traumatic event
  • Feelings of helplessness or intense fear
  • A history of mental illness or substance abuse
  • Not having adequate support from friends and/or loved ones after a traumatic event

The best way to mitigate these risk factors and the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder is to seek help from those around you as soon as possible. Establishing healthy coping mechanisms can be done both before or after a dangerous event, and leaning on others for much-needed support is vital.

Treatment for PTSD

For those who experience more intense symptoms of PTSD that are affecting their daily life, Melaine Ndi is here to help. The most common methods used universally to treat PTSD include prescribed medications and psychotherapy.

Medications for PTSD Management

While medication cannot always cure PTSD, it can certainly help to improve symptoms of the disorder. As previously noted, individuals with PTSD often experience sudden mood changes that can leave them feeling hopelessly sad or incredibly angry. Problems with sleep are also extremely common, and can also be managed using different types of medication as prescribed by You First Telehealth.

Types of Psychotherapy Used for PTSD

Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy can be very beneficial in treating a wide range of mental illnesses. For those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring via CBT are typically regarded as the most effective methods.

Exposure Therapy

As its name would suggest, this form of psychotherapy is based on exposing the individual to their fears in order to relive the event in a safe environment that will not cause them any kind of harm. After experiencing the event in a safe and controlled space, many patients are able to realize that their avoided situations are not likely to cause a dangerous outcome, which can allow them to begin immersing themselves in previously enjoyed activities once again.

Cognitive Restructuring

It is common for individuals with PTSD to remember the event in a more serious and dramatic way than how it actually occurred. This can lead to feelings of shame or guilt that the trauma was the person’s own fault, even though this is often untrue. Cognitive restructuring focuses on reliving the event in a more realistic way and reframing negative or distorted thoughts about the event or yourself.


Schedule an Appointment for Testing & Treatment in Texas and Washington State

No two patients are alike, which is why Melaine takes an individualized approach to each patient she treats. If you have been struggling to focus in school, at work, and at home please call (469) 389-0960.