The Great War, as it was known back then, was a carnage on a level not yet previously imagined due to the technologies made possible by the industrial revolution. With those technologies came rapid advancements in weapons tech, including new submachine guns, chemical warfare and modern hand grenades – and the discovery of the post-traumatic stress disorder.
But PTSD is more than a side-effect of the traumas of war – it’s a side-effect of trauma itself. Soldiers are common victims of post-traumatic stress, because there really are only a few things as traumatic as being torn from a life of peace into the realities of combat and the bloody battlefield. That being said, PTSD can develop from any series of traumatic events, including child abuse, rape, witnessing death or violence, or bullying. Every person is different, with a different tolerance, a different reason for the pain, and a different history behind the aftermath and the disorder.
Let’s not get anything confused here. We at Vantage Point know that every case of PTSD is valid, and often the cause of a very, very tragic series of events. But we also know that life is more than just a series of tragedies, and the human mind – no matter how terrible an experience – is meant to be able to bounce back, and continue living with a modicum of happiness and appreciation for every wholesome day on this Earth.
We help you win back that appreciation, and tackle your condition in a way that ends the suffering, ends the reminders, and brings you back into your life with the lust for living, and not a constant overshadowing fear of what surrounds you, and your haunting past. We also know that PTSD is as far from clear-cut and simple as you’re going to get in terms of mental disorders. Your mind, for all intents and purposes, was shattered – and it was broken in a unique way. Mending it – helping you pick up the pieces and put it back together on your own terms – requires a deeper understanding of exactly what you’re dealing with here.
The Symptoms of PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is most drastically highlighted by a selection of symptoms that revolve around reliving, and constantly being faced with the event itself.
You’ll experience symptoms of avoidance, of intrusive or unwanted memories and thoughts, and negative thinking, such as:
- Avoiding People and Places
- Loss of Interest
It’s a long list of symptoms that could very well mean something else, but typically what highlights PTSD and sets it apart from other disorders is the constant presence and repeated reminder by your own mind of the trauma that started all of this in the first place.
How PTSD is Treated
PTSD isn’t easy to deal with. Typically, it involves a lot of in-depth retrospection and reflection, and lengthy periods of therapy. The goal is basically to cut deep enough into your own mind that you can confront the trauma, and find your own way to cope with it once and for all. To do so, we at Vantage Point will help you dissect into your own mind with a number of tools, like:
- Group Therapy
We specialize in outpatient care. That means that a large number of our treatment options work even while you’re working. We believe that, outside of extreme cases, treatment should be incorporated into everyday life.
There are times when it’s important for a case to be treated on-location with an inpatient program, but otherwise, it’s best to be with your family and loved ones while building your defense against PTSD.
We at Vantage Point recognize that every case and patient is different, though. Not only is your disorder different, you as a person are completely unique. And after all, we focus on working with you, in a way you’re most comfortable with.
Serious trauma will follow you forever. It’ll be a scar on your mind. But like most scars, we eventually learn to live with them – and often even forget they exist. We’re here to help you take your traumatic experience, and shove it right back where it belongs – in the past. You’re safe now, away from harm – the trauma is over. The aftermath should be over too. You’ve had enough pain.
ACUTE STRESS DISORDER
Acute stress disorder, or ASD, is an immediate reaction to a major traumatic event that lasts not much longer than a month. For the sake of diagnosis and technicality, the general rule of thumb (unless certain circumstances decide otherwise), an acute stress disorder has to occur within a month of a trauma, and last no longer than a month to be diagnosed as a case of ASD.
The technicality aside, however, ASD is a form of PTSD that occurs immediately and fades away quickly, leaving behind a lasting impression and turning a serious trauma into even more pain.
There’s no way to tell whether or not a disorder was or could be considered ASD until it’s over – which is why it’s important to always consider the alternative, which is that your stress may be here to last.
While ASD is basically directly related to PTSD and occurs mostly for the same reasons – trauma – it’s fundamentally different in both length and often severity. Dealing with ASD is no walk in the park, we can tell you that much – but its short-lived nature means that, if properly diagnosed, it can be managed and you can return to your normal life within a certain period of time.
When It’s Acute Stress Disorder
ASD sets itself apart from PTSD by length and occurrence (i.e. it happens soon after a traumatic event, rather than later), but getting a bit more in-depth regarding the possible causes and symptoms of the disorder always pays off in helping you better understand what you’re dealing with, and the nature of how to beat it.
While many mental illnesses and disorders carry a large host of possible risk factors, the single greatest risk factor and a reason for developing any sort of stress disorder is trauma. Trauma can be anything, from severe physical injury, to an emotionally scarring event, such as sexual abuse or the loss of a partner. When dealing with ASD, you can count on any of the following to show up and disrupt your life:
- Disassociation with reality
- Memory problems
- Numbness of emotion
Depending on how painful and traumatic an experience was, 6 to 33 percent of people experiencing trauma develop an acute stress disorder. Compare this to the roughly 20 percent who develop PTSD, and you can see that the rates are relatively comparable.
Anyone can suffer from ASD, including children. It’s important to understand that, just because you’ve been hit with the disorder, there’s nothing inherently wrong with you – PTSD and other stress disorders are sometimes simply a natural consequence of a terrible, terrible event, and millions of American struggle with the disorder at any given time. That being said, it is highly treatable – and with the right care, your ASD can be beaten. It can’t be cured – you’ll always carry that weight – but we’re here to make sure you’re strong enough to not collapse under it, and pick yourself up again whenever life sees it fit to knock you down.
Our Acute Stress Disorder Treatment
Let’s be clear here, though – we can’t beat your disorder for you. It’s your fight, your demons, your memories – and your event that has to be dealt with. All we can do is equip you with every therapeutic and psychological tool available. You have to take the steps, complete the treatment, and follow your own gut to the root of your issues. We’ll help you every step of the way, through treatment like:
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Exposure Therapy
These are just a few examples of commonly used and accepted treatments, but we don’t limit ourselves solely to these potential solutions. Every person’s disorder is unique and different in their own way, and your personality and preferences make some therapies more effective than others.
Aside from thorough psychoanalysis and a subsequently tailored treatment plan, we also understand that absolutely nothing will move forward without your explicit cooperation. That’s why we at Vantage Point heavily involve our patients in the choosing and building of their treatments. What you’re comfortable with and what works best for you is key.
ACUTE POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
Acute post-traumatic stress is, to put it clinically, a classification of PTSD defined by a short period of time. While an acute stress disorder in particular arises soon or even immediately after an event has occurred, APTSD is more like PTSD in that symptoms show up more than a month after a traumatic experience, or string of traumatic events.
To put the fancy stuff aside, when you’re diagnosed with acute post-traumatic stress disorder, it means you’re suffering from a kind of PTSD that will fade away rather soon. That doesn’t make the experience – or the magnitude and severity of the symptoms – any easier to deal with.
What Sets Acute PTSD Apart
Time is what sets acute PTSD aside from other brands of the disorder. The official classification is less than three months – and while anything barely south of 90 days can still feel like an eternity, and be a period that never truly leaves you, the alternative is much worse.
An acute post-traumatic stress disorder occurs like any other brand of PTSD, through trauma. From there, your mind may struggle to cope with what happened, and you’ll undergo a period of disassociation, depression, numbness, and other protective or defensive mechanisms that disrupt your day to day life and damage your relationships.
Aside from the difference in disorder length, you can expect the following symptoms from a bout of APTSD:
- Impaired Memory
There are others, but let’s face it – you get the idea. PTSD is hard to miss – if you’re still experiencing the serious emotional aftermaths of a traumatic experience in a way that leaves you unable to work, concentrate, or speak with others, you have a serious, serious problem.
You’re Not Alone in Tackling Acute PTSD
PTSD challenges millions of Americans every single year, acute PTSD among them. As a disorder, it’s been formally recognized since the 50s, and has been an unofficial mental health diagnosis since the days of Bismarck and the first automobile. We’re quite familiar with treating PTSD, even if no case is ever “easy”. Treatment options include:
- Group Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Exposure Therapy
And other choices, based on your circumstances, preferences, experiences, and our best judgment. All we want is to see you healthy, and back on track to living a normal life – and we do our best to ensure that our actions reflect our words.
CHRONIC POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
At its most basic level, PTSD is nothing more than a coping mechanism. It’s a system of responses and neurotic behaviors characterized by being overly defensive – your mind, after suffering too much abuse, shuts itself in and tries to shy away from as much triggering stimuli as possible, while reminding you of the horribleness you’ve endured to keep you on-edge. It can’t move on, can’t get past it, and can’t get over it.
Chronic PTSD, in this case, is one of the worst kinds of PTSD because you’re effectively dealing with the condition in the long term.
What Chronic PTSD Looks Like
When most of us think of the term chronic, we think of something that is reoccurring. In a sense, that is true. But more specifically, in the case of PTSD, a chronic condition is one that’s any period past three months.
At that point, the regular reoccurrence of common symptoms classifies the disorder as a major long-term issue – one that requires the attention of professionals and the help of a treatment center to address. The symptoms are typically one or several including:
- Avoiding People and Places
We don’t approach our patients strictly clinically. Each and every case is highlighted by unique differences – we take them into account, and help you embrace your differences and individuality rather than conform to someone else’s standard of normality. Your definition of being cured matters the most to us, and the road to a totally normal life doesn’t end after the first round of treatment, but has only begun.
Dealing with Chronic PTSD
Characterized most specifically by its long duration, chronic PTSD may be the result of particularly tough trauma, or a fragile mind. Both are not easy to treat. We need your full cooperation, and every fiber of your willpower and strength to help you get through this.
Here at Vantage Point, we place zero value on lies or sugarcoating. So we’ll give it to you straight. This will be hard – it’ll be tough as hell. Recovering and beating a mental disorder and actively coping with it – with as little medication as possible – requires months or years of hard work and dedication.
You have to want to get better, and you’ll have to work with us to actively improve your condition. But as long as you’re ready for a long journey, we’re not going to stop or slow down. With us, you can expect regular treatment options like:
- Group Therapy
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Exposure Therapy
And a few other mainstream treatment options. We evaluate each case and determine which would work best, and we utilize common and proven alternatives – like meditation, and mindfulness training – to help expand your arsenal of treatment options. The more you have, the better your chances of finding something that truly sticks.
Don’t worry if it takes a while – there is no timer on these sorts of things. It simply takes as long as it takes, and that’s as individual and unique a duration as you are from each and every other patient.
DELAYED-ONSET POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
When most people think PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, the first thing that pops to mind is shell shock.
Shell shock is another lovely term that originated roughly around or after the first World War, like trench foot, zeppelin, and Nazism. It basically described a mental and physical condition literally caused by the shock of artillery shells and warfare, wherein a soldier would be “distant” both mentally and emotionally, hallmarked and highlighted by the infamous “thousand yard stare”.
Yet delayed-onset PTSD is a tad bit different from the classical definition. The symptoms and signs are all the same, but a delayed-onset condition is one that develops over the course of years, and finally sets in as a full-blown disorder long after the traumatic event itself has actually passed. It’s most common in adults reliving their childhood traumas, but even then it’s a rare diagnosis.
Other common examples are World War II veterans, which sometimes would not display signs of PTSD until decades after the end the war, usually due to some emotionally-devastating trigger such as the loss of a friend, or another traumatic experience.
A Case of Delayed-Onset PTSD
Delayed-onset PTSD sets itself apart not just by duration – typically lasting longer than six months – but particularly by the nature and timing of when it sets in. This isn’t your usual case of PTSD, it’s a different beast – and because of that, we employ a different approach to taming it.
For all intents and purposes, it’s marked by all the same hallmark symptoms of PTSD – including symptoms like:
- Numbness of emotion
It’s a gamut of tough symptoms, but treatment can help you cope with them and bring your life back to a level of normality at which you can function normally, and go about living without being constantly dragged down by terrible memories of the past.
Helping You Cope with Delayed-Onset PTSD
Delayed-onset PTSD is a tad bit different, and often more entrenched and severe than other forms of post-traumatic stress disorder due to how long the memories and emotions have been lying dormant as part of your subconscious. Tackling the disorder requires:
- Intensive outpatient care
- Regular psychotherapy
- A strong support system
Sometimes, different therapy methods may be used to see what works best, from psychoanalysis to cognitive behavioral therapy, or mindfulness training. We’ll tell you the truth – it’ll be impossible to know what works best until we try it. But as long as you’re ready to keep on fighting, we’re not giving up on you until you’ve beaten the disorder, no matter how tough the journey will be.