Anxiety Therapists in Charlotte NC
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – also known as PTSD, is a widely-known type of anxiety disorder often experienced by soldiers as well as those who have been victims of rape and other crimes, and even victims of house fires and car accidents.
The National Council for Behavioral Health estimates that 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives.
PTSD can exhibit itself in symptoms such as flashbacks, recurring memories of past traumatic experiences, insomnia, nightmares / night terrors, memory gaps, guilt / sadness, and lack of focus. PTSD can also bring about other symptoms such as:
- Avoidance (avoiding specific locations, sights, things, situations, sounds, etc. that serve as reminders of the event)
- Re-experience (nightmares, night terrors, flashbacks or intrusive thoughts)
- Hyperarousal (anger, irritability, aggressiveness, reckless behavior / self-harm)
- Negative Moods and Cognition Problems (loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities, difficulty remembering details the distressing event, and a change in habits or behavior since the trauma)
Yet, there is another condition that presents very much like PTSD, with the difference being the sufferer experienced prolonged periods of abuse or neglect. This could happen as a result of childhood neglect or the abuse suffered at the hands of a narcissistic partner. This condition is known as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).
Symptoms of C-PTSD
As mentioned earlier, the outward symptoms of C-PTSD may match other mental health disorders. Those symptoms include:
- Flashbacks and nightmares in which the trauma is re-lived.
- Avoiding people, places, and situations that remind them of the trauma.
- Dizziness or nausea when remembering the trauma.
- Hyperarousal. Hyperarousal is a state of high alert, and is often the state that person suffering has lived in for a prolonged period of time.
- A belief that the world is a dangerous place.
- A loss of trust in self or others.
- Difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
- Being startled by loud noises.
Diagnosing C-PTSD is tricky because the symptoms are usually not very unique. That is to say, someone who is suffering from C-PTSD may be experiencing anxiety and lethargy, but these symptoms match other mental health issues.
But it is very important to accurately diagnose C-PTSD because of the necessary treatment measures. The main difference between C-PTSD and other mental health issues – say, bipolar disorder – is that C-PTSD is a result of things that were done TO an individual, and not an intrinsic problem. In other words, someone suffers from C-PTSD because of abuse and neglect at the hands of another and not because of genetically determined brain chemistry.
To help correctly identify C-PTSD, a therapist must uncover an accurate history to understand if:
- The individual has experienced multiple prolonged traumas that have lasted for months (or even years)
- The traumas were caused by someone the individual had a deep interpersonal relationship with and/or someone who was part of their primary care network (most commonly a parent or caregiver)
- These traumas were experienced as permanent features of life, with the individual unable to see any end in sight
- The individual had no control or power over the person traumatizing them
Treatment for C-PTSD
There are a few different treatment options for people suffering from C-PTSD, each of which we offer at Montgomery Counseling Group:
Therapy can take place on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. The focus will be on addressing feelings, improving connections with others, and dealing with anxiety and flashbacks. Many therapists have had success using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helping people cope with the symptoms of C-PTSD.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This is a process that uses eye movement to help a person desensitize their reactions to a specific traumatic event. The result is the person can eventually recall the memory but have no emotional reaction to it.
Some individuals may need to be on medications for a while to reduce their anxiety. A therapist can work with you to determine if this is the best course of action.
In his book, “The Body Keeps Score: Brian, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”, Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D., researches and discusses how the brain, mind, and body reshape themselves after trauma. These changes compromise one’s health and happiness due to exposure to things such as violence, emotional abuse, and other forms of traumatic stress.
A great deal of research has been done over the years to determine the effectiveness of psychotherapy as trauma Therapy. At Montgomery Counseling Group, we rely on the two approaches which have been demonstrated to have the most success: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Our licensed therapists have specialized training and look forward to working with you to resolve the difficult issues that may be limiting your ability to enjoy life as you once used to.
Contact Us Today!
If you or someone you know is dealing with trauma, I am confident that we can help, and invite you to contact us today for a free consultation. It doesn’t matter who you are or what stage of life you’re in, we encourage you to reach out and know that you are not alone and that It Gets Better!