Disorders We Treat

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder can develop for someone after they have experienced or witnessed an event that made them fear for their safety or for the safety of someone else. Common traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.), abuse, witnessing or being the victim of a crime, or car accidents.

After someone experiences a traumatic event, they may show some of the symptoms listed below. Symptoms may present immediately after a trauma, or may not show up for days or weeks following the event. Symptoms may look different according to how old the person is. For more details on PTSD in children and adolescents, click here. (? link to childhood PTSD article) Symptoms of PTSD generally fall into three categories:

“Reliving”: Reexperiencing the traumatic event in some way

  • Recurrent distressing memories of the event
  • Recurrent dreams of the event
  • Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be recurring
  • Bodily reactions to situations that remind them of the traumatic event

“Avoidance”: A conscious or unconscious desire to stay away from reminders of the event

  • Difficulty remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • A lack of interest in activities that the person used to enjoy
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Sense of having no future
  • Emotional "numbing", or feeling as though they don’t care about anything
  • Reduced expression of moods
  • Staying away from places, people, or objects that remind them of the event

“Arousal”: A sense of being “on alert” for future dangers

  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exaggerated response to things that startle them
  • Hypervigilance, or exaggerated awareness of potential threats

It is perfectly normal for someone to feel some or all of these things after a traumatic experience. After all, it is your body trying to make sense of something that doesn’t normally happen. But when worries/fears or changes to behavior last for longer than one month, it may be a sign of PTSD and a sign that it is time to seek help.

The Tarnow Center provides several services that are designed to treat children, adolescents, and adults who are suffering from PTSD. These treatments include:

  • Individual Therapy: to teach the client specific skills to decrease the worry and stress associated with the traumatic event. It is helpful to learn these skills in a supportive environment where the client’s experience can be normalized.
  • Family Therapy: offers support and instruction for parents who want information on how to help their child work through the anxiety and trauma.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback works by teaching specific anxiety management skills to the client. Biofeedback employs the use of technology to make the client more aware of the internal processes that contribute to anxiety, and in doing so, teaches the client to better control these processes.
  • Neurofeedback: Neurofeedback is similar to Biofeedback in that it utilizes technology to help the client become aware of internal processes. But neurofeedback specifically trains the client to normalize dysfunctional brainwaves that lead to anxiety.
  • DBT Group: “DBT” is short for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, a form of treatment that provides adolescents with a supportive atmosphere to learn emotional regulation, practice self-calming techniques, and work on their interpersonal relationships.
  • Medication may be helpful in treating some symptoms of anxiety associated with PTSD if medication is used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. However, medication is not always recommended for children under 18.

To contact one of our clinicians, or to schedule and Intake Evaluation, please click on the links below or call 713-621-9515.

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