Around 8% of Americans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point during their lives. At Lumos Psychiatric Services in Orlando, Florida, board-certified psychiatrist Luis J. Olivera-Rodriguez, MD, diagnoses PTSD and provides customized treatments to alleviate your symptoms and help you build the coping skills you need to lead a fulfilling life. If PTSD interferes with your life, call Lumos Psychiatric Services or request an appointment online today.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that develops after you experience trauma. While around 70% of Americans experience a traumatic event such as an active shooter situation, personal assault, or combat, only 25% of those people develop PTSD.

It’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety, heightened emotions, or depression after trauma. However, in most cases, those negative thoughts and feelings subside as time passes. PTSD, on the other hand, tends to emerge gradually, and your symptoms persist and worsen for months or even years after the event.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms are often severely disruptive to your well-being and interfere with your ability to function normally. PTSD causes four specific categories of symptoms:

Intrusive thoughts
Flashbacks and nightmares are the most severe type of intrusive thoughts. Your flashbacks and nightmares may be so realistic that you believe you’re reliving the experience. You may also have other less realistic, but equally intrusive, thoughts or memories of your trauma. Intrusive thoughts often have triggers that stimulate your flashbacks or memories.

Avoidance behaviors
You may adjust your actions to avoid people, places, and things that trigger your memories. For example, you may drive a different route to work to avoid the intersection where you had a severe automobile collision, or you may stop spending time with people who remind you of your trauma. These avoidance behaviors can interfere with your ability to function professionally and socially.

Negative thoughts and feelings
It’s also common to be plagued by negative emotions and beliefs if you have PTSD. For example, you may live with guilt or develop an extreme distrust of other people. You may also lose interest in previously enjoyed activities and pull away from your relationships with friends and family.

Heightened arousal
PTSD increases your emotions and can cause a short temper and angry outbursts. You might find it challenging to control your feelings and behaviors, which can lead to dangerous or self-destructive activities. Substance abuse is a common problem for those with PTSD.

How is PTSD treated?

Dr. Olivera-Rodriguez provides comprehensive assessments of your mental and physical symptoms to confirm that you have PTSD. He then works with you to implement a customized treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Dr. Olivera-Rodriguez often combines medication and therapy to deliver optimal results. In many cases, medication can regulate your brain chemistry and provide mental clarity so that you can focus your energy on therapy. During your therapy sessions, you learn and practice different techniques to cope with your trauma and the symptoms of PTSD.

If you’ve experienced a traumatic event and are concerned about PTSD, call Lumos Psychiatric Services, or request a consultation online today.