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What Is the Best Way to Treat PTSD?

Statistics show that approximately six out of every 100 people have post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. This condition can affect various aspects of your life and make coping extremely difficult. When it comes to overcoming the symptoms of PTSD, it is important to have a proper diagnosis and set up an individualized treatment plan that aims to help individuals heal from the pain of the past.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition where someone continues to relive the trauma of something that happened in the past. The condition can last for months or years, and the person suffering may not realize or understand the source of the trauma.

There are many myths about PTSD, such as that only people who have been through war can suffer from it, but PTSD can affect anyone who has suffered a traumatic incident. The person with PTSD may be affected by triggers in the environment or suffer on a daily basis. Some people with PTSD experience nightmares and problems sleeping. It is important to understand how it manifests so you can plan to treat it.

Diagnosing PTSD

Before you can treat a condition, you must correctly diagnose it. Diagnosing PTSD can be difficult, especially if the patient has been putting it off for a long time. An entire narrative may be built up around the symptoms, but a competent professional can diagnose the condition.

Before looking for a psychological diagnosis, it is essential to rule out physical causes. For this reason, most doctors will perform a physical exam first. After that physical exam, there will be a psychological exam, where the patient answers questions about background and symptoms.

For a diagnosis of PTSD, our mental health professional will look for the original cause. The patient will need to identify the traumatic event. For the diagnosis, the patient must have personally experienced the traumatic event, whether physically or by watching it happen to someone else. The other person could be a loved one who you learned about the event after the fact. Finally, for a diagnosis, the problems must persist for at least a month after the qualifying event to count.

Treatments for PTSD

There are several different kinds of treatment for PTSD, and what works for one person may not work for another. Some treatments work better than others, but even the best treatments will not provide relief for everyone. It is essential to commit to a treatment plan so that you can get relief from the problems that are continuing to cause you trauma.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for PTSD for most people. During CBT, the patient focuses on the relationship between thoughts and the feelings that accompany them, learning to change how they think about specific events and situations.

Once someone learns how to change their way of thinking or viewing a specific situation, they have the ability to alter their response effectively. Learning healthier behaviors in one aspect of life can help the patient learn healthier behaviors in other areas.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a subset of CBT where the patient learns how to change behaviors and beliefs specifically related to the trauma. Unlike regular CBT, CPT is usually delivered over a smaller number of sessions. The patient will schedule a specific number of sessions, during which the therapist will work with the patient on specific goals.

Cognitive Therapy

During cognitive therapy, a patient learns to look at past traumas differently. Instead of looking at the situation pessimistically, the patient will learn how to interrupt the normal thought patterns and control them more positively.

Prolonged Exposure

Although prolonged exposure can be traumatic for some patients, it can help some people find relief. This treatment involves having the patient deliberately focus on memories that are considered traumatic instead of avoiding them. This can be done little by little, building up exposure over time. This treatment can help some patients learn new ways to process their memories so that they are not scared or traumatized by them. Repeat exposure helps patients change their way of thinking about a specific event, which can help provide them relief. 

Treatment Resistant Cases

In addition to the treatment mentioned above, therapists have several types of therapy that they will use in cases where other treatment methods are not as effective or have failed. These can include the following. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

During this kind of treatment, the patient focuses on the traumatic memories while experiencing a specific type of stimulation (usually via eye movements). This kind of treatment happens 1-2 times weekly for 6-12 sessions.

Narrative Exposure

Narrative exposure therapy, also known as NET, is a type of trauma therapy that leverages the power of storytelling to help patients heal from past traumatic events. During NET, therapists and patients worked to create a chronological narrative of various life events. During this therapy, they will integrate all of the experiences from the traumatic event and view them in a more positive way. This therapy uniquely focuses on recognizing and creating an account of what happened in a way that can help a patient recapture their self-respect.

Medications

Although they have not all been fully approved for the treatment of PTSD, there are several different kinds of medication that some psychiatrists prescribe that successfully help some patients. These drugs include sertraline, which is also used for depression, and fluoxetine, which is used for several disorders.

Don’t Wait to Start Your Recovery Process

It is no secret that suffering from PTSD can interfere with every area of your life. At Inner Voyage Recovery Center, our experts in Woodstock, GA, understand how difficult it can be to deal with this kind of recurring trauma. For this reason, our team has several trusted ways that can help you deal with your post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, and we want to work with you to find the treatment plan that can help you find relief.

Get started today by calling (470) 523-4606 to speak with our team about admissions.

The 7 Types of Anxiety Disorders & Their Treatment Options

Anxiety can be understood as a normal part of life that affects individuals in different ways. However, when the symptoms become severe, typical anxiety can turn into a mental health disorder. With this in mind, different anxiety disorders likewise affect people in varied ways. There are seven anxiety disorders, each of which is defined by a unique set of triggers. Below, we’ve outlined the primary characteristics of each of the anxiety disorders we treat.

The Seven Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

It is not uncommon to experience occasional episodes of anxiety as a natural aspect of life. However, individuals diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) often experience heightened levels of worry or nervousness on a regular basis, even in situations where there may be minimal or no apparent cause for concern.

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the experience of anxiety and worry is commonly accompanied by three or more of the following six symptoms. It is important to note that these symptoms should be present for a majority of the days over a period of six months or more:

  1. Feeling restless, tense, or on edge
  2. Being easily exhausted
  3. Having trouble focusing or going blank
  4. Irritability
  5. Tense muscles
  6. Trouble sleeping (inability to fall or remain asleep, or restless, unsatisfactory sleep)

GAD and most anxiety disorders are typically managed through psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Panic Disorder

It is important to note that not all individuals who experience a panic attack will necessarily develop panic disorder. Individuals diagnosed with panic disorder experience recurrent and unforeseen episodes of intense panic attacks. These attacks are commonly described as experiencing a sudden surge of fear or discomfort, accompanied by a feeling of losing control, even in the absence of any apparent danger or identifiable trigger.

Panic disorder can be diagnosed by a healthcare provider or a mental health professional, who will carefully evaluate your symptoms for other possible anxiety disorders. Typically, when an individual experiences four or more panic attacks and lives with a persistent worry of future episodes, it may be indicative of panic disorder.

Treatment for panic disorder generally involves psychotherapy and medications.

Agoraphobia

For many who suffer from agoraphobia, simply being in places where they feel trapped or helpless is terrifying. It is a common misconception that persons with agoraphobia are just afraid of being in crowded places or using public transportation. However, agoraphobia is a complex mental condition where one feels an extreme aversion to being in social situations for fear of experiencing an anxiety attack.

The diagnostic interview is a crucial part of any psychiatric assessment, especially for agoraphobia. A healthcare provider will be able to make a diagnosis of agoraphobia by carefully assessing your symptoms, their frequency, and their intensity.

Typically, individuals diagnosed with agoraphobia are commonly advised to undergo psychotherapy in conjunction with taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) known as sertraline.

Specific Phobias

An extreme aversion to something that presents little to no real threat is characteristic of a specific phobia. Adults with specific phobias often have a reasonable understanding of the irrationality of their worries, yet the very thought of confronting their phobia triggers a great deal of anxiety.

The most effective treatment for most types of specific phobias has often been psychotherapy and, more especially, exposure-based treatments. In most cases, therapy will focus on one phobia at a time by treating the avoidance behavior that has formed in relation to that phobia.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Individuals diagnosed with social anxiety disorder often experience heightened levels of worry, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment during routine social interactions.

Individuals who have encountered teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule, or humiliation during their childhood may have an increased susceptibility to developing social anxiety disorder. This illness may also be linked to other stressful experiences in a person’s life, such as family problems or experiencing trauma and/or abuse.

Both talk therapy and antidepressant medication have been shown to be effective in helping people with social anxiety disorder feel more at ease while improving their interpersonal skills.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety is a common and developmentally appropriate emotion experienced by infants and young children. However, when separation anxiety begins to disrupt age-appropriate behavior, it is important to recognize it as a disorder that requires treatment.

Separation anxiety disorder is a psychological condition characterized by a profound and overwhelming fear of being separated from a cherished individual or caregiver. This condition can manifest in individuals of all ages. In adults, separation anxiety from childhood may manifest as a paralyzing dread that something terrible will happen to people who are important to you.

The recommended treatment options for separation anxiety disorder typically involve a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is a recognized anxiety disorder that manifests as the inability of an individual to speak in specific social settings, such as school, work, or within the community. Individuals diagnosed with selective mutism often exhibit the ability to converse comfortably and effectively in some environments, such as their own homes.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral therapy techniques, such as gradual exposure, are some validated treatments for selective mutism.

Explore Treatment for Anxiety Disorders in Atlanta, GA

At Inner Voyage Recovery Center, we provide a variety of services geared toward helping you conquer your mental health conditions and reclaim your life. If you are struggling with any of these anxiety disorders in Atlanta, GA, and the surrounding areas, we are here to provide support in alleviating your triggers and helping you find more balance.

Our facility provides comprehensive and individualized treatment plans that incorporate both medication and psychotherapy. These methods are highly effective in managing common symptoms and addressing the root cause of anxiety disorders. By successfully completing treatment at our facility, individuals can develop the necessary skills to effectively confront their fears and navigate challenging situations without being hindered by negative thoughts.

For more information about our program or to seek treatment for your mental health, we kindly invite you to contact us through our admissions page or call us directly at (470) 523-4606.

What Makes Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) So Effective?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has proven effective across several clinical industries. It is a productive way to address challenging behaviors and help people work through them. While we can repeat that this form of therapy is very effective, the question still remains: what makes DBT so effective? DBT can be helpful in the healing process of a number of disorders. Not only does it help patients internally, but it is also valuable for social wellness. Continue reading to learn more about DBT and why it is such a powerful form of therapy.

What Is DBT?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of therapy that is derived from the more common cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). While DBT borrows many practices from CBT, there is one thing that sets the two apart significantly. Dialectical behavior therapy was designed for people with intense emotional experiences. It was developed in the 1980s as a treatment for borderline personality disorder. Since then, it has become a key treatment for other conditions.

Dialectical behavior therapy is specifically designed for those who have a challenging time with behavior management and regulation. DBT is generally recommended for people with the following conditions:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm and suicidal behaviors
  • Depression and anxiety

During treatment, therapists attempt to find a balance between accepting one’s self and the benefits of change. The end goal is to improve emotional regulation through new skills. After the treatment plan is completed, success is measured with the following criteria:

  • Decrease in self-harming behaviors
  • Better emotional regulation and anger management
  • Decrease in inpatient hospitalization
  • Decreased drug and alcohol misuse

The effectiveness of DBT is dependent on each person and their goals. However, those who thrive with this form of therapy see exceptional results.

How Does It Work?

DBT is centered around four key aspects. Although treatment is highly structured, it varies by person. These are the four skills that every person learns in dialectical behavior therapy.

Mindfulness: One of the first ways that a therapist will promote wellness is through mindfulness. This involves becoming aware of one’s thoughts, actions, and emotions so they can successfully work through them down the line.

Distress Tolerance: With this skill, individuals learn how to cope in moments of distress. When situations become challenging, it can be hard to accept them and let go. They might feel the urge to react in a way that is not beneficial to their healing. For this reason, DBT aims to make distress tolerance a significant factor.

Emotional Regulation: Patients typically have trouble with emotional regulation when they begin treatment. This principle helps them regulate and identify emotions and find different ways to cope with them.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal effectiveness refers to the ways in which a person communicates with others. Whether they need to be kinder with their words or learn to establish healthy boundaries, the therapist will dive deeper to understand their current communication habits and improve them.

Who Does DBT Help?

While DBT is a common and effective form of therapy, it is most suitable for certain conditions. Here are a few.

Borderline Personality Disorder

As mentioned previously, DBT was initially used as a treatment method for borderline personality disorder (BPD). This is a condition in which a person experiences extreme emotions. The person generally has difficulty managing emotions and behavior, trouble with self-image, and a pattern of unstable relationships.

With BPD, dialectical behavior therapy is used to manage these symptoms, especially in cases where the person with BPD also self-harms.

Eating Disorders

In eating disorder treatment, DBT is used to manage the individual’s extreme emotions when it comes to eating. DBT is most commonly used for patients with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder.

Depression and Anxiety

When patients with depression and anxiety struggle to manage their emotions and communicate with others, dialectical behavior therapy may be suggested to them. In treatment, each of these issues is addressed separately, and patients are encouraged to develop alternate coping strategies.

Why Is It So Effective?

DBT is highly effective because of its structure. Because handling such diverse and intense behaviors leaves little room for error, those who are trained in DBT are often very strict in their approach. Like other therapies, DBT is individualized. Therefore, the treatment for each person varies slightly, with only one thing remaining: the structure.

The end results of this type of therapy are also impactful in a number of different ways. Here are a few ways that DBT is beneficial for patients.

Improving Relationships

One of the main things that extreme behaviors are notorious for is destroying relationships. However, recovery and proper management of any illness cannot be done alone. Something that DBT focuses on heavily is the improvement of relationships, not only with one’s self but also with others in their life. Learning to create healthy relationships can be valuable through difficult times.

Improving Quality of Life

The goal of DBT is to help individuals live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. This is done through emotional regulation, behavior management, and relationship building. While a person may have some trouble with the lessons taught in DBT, they are encouraged to be challenged and know that it is not a bad thing. These lessons carry on through their lives and can drastically improve their quality of life.

Learn More About DBT With Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA

There are various reasons why dialectical behavior therapy is so effective. Our team at Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA, offers DBT as a therapy option for patients who can benefit from it. Your mental health is important to us. That is why we offer several treatment options that cater to our patient’s individual needs.

If you are searching for quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders, look no further than Inner Voyage Recovery Center. Our team of professionals is knowledgeable, experienced, and eager to help. Contact us today to learn more about our therapy options and to take a tour of our facility.

How Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Between Genders

Borderline personality disorder is a common mental health disorder. Like many mental health disorders, there are disparities in the ways it is diagnosed between genders. While there are both biological and situational factors that play a role in the causes of this disorder, there still seems to be a gap in the number of men who get diagnosed with this disorder. Although the statistics say one thing, are there other reasons why more women seem to be diagnosed with BPD?

Continue reading to find out more.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that impacts the way a person thinks and feels about themself. It is characterized by extreme self-image issues, challenges with maintaining stable relationships, and difficulty managing emotions.

While it is unclear what the exact cause of BPD is, there are certain factors that seem to remain the same across the board. Some research suggests that BPD is linked to genetics, while others have shown that it is linked to brain abnormalities. Additionally, certain environmental factors like childhood abuse or neglect can be listed as probable causes.

Symptoms

Every case of borderline personality disorder is different. While the condition affects how a person feels about themselves, there are other signs and symptoms that are more subtle. These include the following.

  • An extreme fear of being abandoned.
  • A pattern of unstable relationships.
  • Impulsive and risky behaviors.
  • Mood swings that can last from a few hours to a few days.
  • Inability to manage emotions, which results in intense anger or physical violence.

The symptoms of borderline personality disorder usually appear in early adulthood. It is a condition that seems to have the worst effects in young adulthood, and it may get better with age. However, receiving therapy is one of the most effective ways to manage the symptoms of this condition.

Borderline Personality in Men vs. Women

Although the rates of borderline personality disorder are seemingly equal among men and women, it is more likely that a woman will receive a diagnosis. This can be attributed to several reasons.

Presentation

There has been a significant distinction between the way men and women present symptoms of BPD. Women who struggle with borderline personality disorder show signs of other conditions. These include eating disorders, PTSD, and anxiety and stress disorders.

On the contrary, men have been shown to have more explosive tendencies. Instead, they often struggle with substance use disorders, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial disorder. In fact, the conclusions of this study by the NIH state just that.

Although the presentation of symptoms varies between genders, it has been noted that there are still similar levels of emotional distress between the two genders. Because of this, both genders with borderline personality disorder had similar results when self-harming and suicidal behaviors were studied.

Socialization

Socialization plays an intricate role in the differences in diagnoses between genders. The simple fact is society has preconceived biases about how individuals of different genders should behave. For this reason, more “manly symptoms,” like explosive and intense behaviors from a woman, might be considered abnormal. While “feminine” symptoms from a man may yield the same reactions.

This bias in socialization can be one of the most significant contributors to the inability to diagnose and adequately treat borderline personality disorders in some instances.

Setting and Treatment

Of the many reasons why it may seem that more women have BPD than men, setting plays one of the largest roles. The symptoms that each person presents will influence the type of treatment they receive or if they receive treatment at all. These biases can lead to a lack of adequate treatment as well as potential sampling biases.

The symptoms that are more noticed in women, such as eating disorders and mental health disorders, will likely be addressed in a rehabilitation setting. On the other hand, aggressive and explosive tendencies that are more common in men will likely lead to a correctional setting. In these cases, the men are less likely to receive diagnoses and are treated for their behaviors and not their condition.

Answering the Big Question

So, do more women have borderline personality disorder, or is it more difficult to diagnose men?

The answer to that question is yes. It is more challenging to diagnose men. However, it is not as simple as one may think. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 75% of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are women. While men may be equally affected, there are several reasons that they are more commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

Here are a few theories about why this may be the case.

  • Men may be less likely to seek help than women. In the case of BPD, they will go undiagnosed if they do not seek treatment.
  • Men might be treated for the other conditions that they are showing signs of. Instead of being treated for borderline personality disorder, they are treated for only their substance abuse.
  • As mentioned previously, aggressive behaviors that remain untreated are more likely to lead to a correctional facility than a rehabilitation one. Men with BPD are more likely to end up in jail than to receive the treatment they need.
  • There is a possibility that the mental health professionals who are diagnosing and treating BPD in men are biased.

Find Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in Atlanta, GA

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, seek treatment at the Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA. Our team of professionals is equipped with years of experience treating several mental health disorders and substance use disorders. We provide the best care for all of our patients and ensure that their needs are never ignored.

For the best borderline personality disorder therapy in Atlanta, GA, look no further than Inner Voyage Recovery Center. We are eager to help you address and manage your BPD. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you or to take a tour of our facility.