Some people have occupations where they are regularly exposed to trauma. These jobs put them at risk to develop operational stress injuries. Examples of these include first responders such as fire, police, paramedics, emergency room personnel and 911 operators or dispatchers. Some people experience trauma in an automobile accident, or caring for a love one who is ill, or through physical or sexual violence. All of these can result in PTSD.
When a potentially dangerous or deadly event occurs, it’s normal to go through a period of anxiety.
However, for some people, the emotional effects of acute stress and trauma do not fade with time. Instead, stress levels remain high. As months and years pass, this consistently high level of anxiety takes a toll. When this occurs, a person may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental and physical health condition that requires specialized treatment and intervention.
Patients can learn how to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of their life.
One way to achieve these skills is with intensive mental health therapy combined with mindfulness, regular exercise and medication treatment (if appropriate).
Individuals with PTSD might also benefit from exposure therapy (as appropriate, depending on individual circumstances). Exposure therapy provides individuals with an opportunity to de-sensitize themselves to situations or triggers that cause PTSD symptoms, in a safe and supportive environment. Relaxation, breathing and mindfulness are also tremendously beneficial in effectively treating PTSD.