PTSD Treatment Centers in California

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that responds best to being tackled in a PTSD treatment center.

PTSD can be triggered by a variety of different traumas, and the symptoms manifest in many different ways.

Fortunately, while this condition can be distressing and debilitating, post-traumatic stress disorder is also treatable. Given the complexities of this condition, a dedicated treatment center for PTSD typically delivers the most favorable outcomes.

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 9/23/2021

What Is PTSD?

PTSD can occur after you witness or experience a traumatic event that makes you feel scared, shocked, or helpless.

The trauma in question is variable. From violent crimes, car wrecks, and the death of loves ones through to war crimes, terrorist acts, and various forms of abuse, what constitutes trauma will differ from person to person.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can bring about adverse long-term effects, including generalized anxiety, flashbacks, and disrupted sleep patterns. Often, disturbing thoughts and memories linger long after the event and danger have dissipated. Instead of getting better over time, when PTSD is untreated, symptoms often deteriorate, with sufferers becoming more fearful and more anxious.

Current estimates show that PTSD affects roughly 8% of the US population at any given time. Men may be more likely to experience trauma than women, but they are less likely to be diagnosed with PTSD.

How, then, can you determine whether the backlash of undergoing trauma has triggered the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Table of Contents

What Causes PTSD?

The following are all examples of traumatic events that can cause PTSD:

  • Pandemics like COVID-19
  • Being treated in a mental health facility
  • Losing a loved one under distressing circumstances
  • Traumatic childbirth
  • Being diagnosed with a fatal illness
  • Surviving a natural disaster
  • Exposure to trauma at work
  • Witnessing terrorist attacks
  • Violence in military combat
  • Abuse, bullying, and harassment
  • Kidnapping
  • Car crashes
  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Secondary trauma such as seeing people killed in the line of duty

While the above insight into post-traumatic stress disorder might look unappetizing, here’s the good news: PTSD is treatable, so you don’t need to keep on suffering in silence.

How is PTSD Diagnosed?

A formal diagnosis of PTSD is made in line with the criteria laid down in DSM-5 (the fifth edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). This seminal text, often referred to as the bible of psychiatry, was recently updated for the first time in twenty years, replacing the outgoing DSM-IV.

DSM-5 guidelines concerning PTSD stipulate that both of the following conditions need fulfilling:

  1. You have been exposed to serious injury, sexual violence, death, or the real threat of death. This can be the result of direct experience, or witnessing the event.
  2. You must experience at least one intrusion symptom, one avoidance symptom, two arousal and reactivity symptoms, and two mood-related and cognition symptoms for a period lasting more than four weeks.

Symptoms of the PTSD Diagnosis

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can be categorized as follows:

  • Avoidance symptoms
  • Intrusion symptoms
  • Cognition and mood-related symptoms
  • Arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • Engaging in reckless behaviors
  • Self-medicating with drink and drugs
  • Problems expressing affection
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Inability to recall specifics of the traumatic event
  • Emotional numbness
  • Avoiding things related to the trauma
  • Distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Sweating, nausea, trembling, or generalized pain
  • Intrusive images or thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Troubling, detailed flashbacks
  • Blaming yourself for the trauma
  • Feelings of shame, sadness, guilt, and anger
  • Believing nobody understands what you’re experiencing
  • Difficulty trusting people
  • Feeling like nowhere is safe
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Being easily spooked
  • Outward symptoms of anxiety
  • Problems with concentration
  • Panicking when reminded of the trauma
  • Being easily upset
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Extreme alertness
  • Irritability

In addition to these discrete clusters of PTSD symptoms, you might also present with some physical symptoms not outlined in DSM-5. These can include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Stomach upsets
  • Shaking

PTSD sometimes triggers a variety of behavioral changes, some long-term, leading to ongoing problems at home, work, and school. Stress easily trickles over into interpersonal relationships.

Beyond this, it’s commonplace for those suffering from the symptoms of PTSD to self-medicate with alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs.

Usually, PTSD symptoms develop within three months of the event. This is not fixed and symptoms can present much later in some cases.

Other Effects of PTSD

In addition to the above adverse outcomes, PTSD is known to cause problems in all of the following areas:

  • Coping with change
  • Enjoying yourself
  • Remembering things
  • Decision-making
  • Maintaining friendships
  • Maintaining a relationship
  • Libido
  • Holding down a job

PTSD also frequently co-occurs with depression, anxiety, dissociative disorders, suicidal ideation, and self-harm.

The Types of Trauma From PTSD

Trauma experienced by PTSD sufferers can be grouped as follows:

  • Normal stress response
  • Acute stress disorder
  • Uncomplicated PTSD
  • Complex PTSD
  • Comorbid PTSD

This is what happens before PTSD unfolds. Normal stress response doesn’t always end up leading to full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder, though.

Common events triggering this response include:

  • Surgeries
  • Illnesses
  • Extreme stress
  • Abnormal tension

The support of your personal network in combination with individual or group counseling sessions is normally enough to ward off normal stress response within a few weeks.

Acute stress disorder, if left untreated, can develop into PTSD.

The opposite of uncomplicated PTSD, complex PTSD is caused by repeated exposure to trauma.

Often, complex PTSD comes about as a result of abuse and domestic violence, as well as repeated exposure to war or violence in the community.

Diagnosis and treatment are more nuanced.

With comorbid PTSD, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder co-occur with substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder, this worsens the symptoms while prolonging treatment.

The easiest form of PTSD to treat, uncomplicated PTSD involves a single major traumatic event rather than a string of events.

Typical symptoms of uncomplicated PTSD include:

  • Avoiding trauma reminders
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Changes in relationships

This form of PTSD can be treated using medication, therapy, or an integrated approach combining these modalities.

Recovery & Treatment Options for PTSD

If you experience symptoms like crying, anxiety, or issues with focus after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, this is normal and doesn’t always result in the development of full-blown PTSD.

If you feel you might be suffering from PTSD, though, getting the issue treated promptly is essential if you want to streamline a sustained recovery.

You should strongly consider engaging with PTSD treatment in the following circumstances:

  • When your symptoms linger for a month or more
  • If this symptoms impact your daily living
  • For anyone considering self-harm

PTSD affects people differently, so it’s key to find a highly personalized treatment plan taken your specific trauma as well as your personal circumstances into account.

The most effective form of PTSD treatment involved medication and/or psychotherapy.

Medication

Antidepressants are proven effective for treating the symptoms of PTSD.

This medication can help control the more taxing symptoms of PTSD, including worry, numbness, anger, and depression.

You can also take advantage of other medications to treat nightmares and sleep disturbances.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is highly effective when applied to the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Psychotherapy sessions are delivered individually or in a group setting. Sessions span a period of 6 to 12 weeks.

There are many forms of psychotherapy that can be beneficial for treating PTSD. Some forms of talk therapy focus on social issues or work-related problems, while other forms of therapy target PTSD symptoms more directly.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly useful for dealing with PTSD symptoms. You learn to identify the triggers reminding you of the traumatic event, and you’ll also discover how to use healthy coping strategies to minimize discomfort.

Exposure therapy involves gently and gradually exposing you to the root trauma. You can achieve this by simply writing about the event, or even simply imagining the event. Sometimes, exposure therapy involves visiting the trauma scene.

Cognitive restructuring can help you to reframe the traumatic event, diminishing the hold it has exerted over you until now.

Goals for PTSD Treatment

If you are in an abusive relationship, or if you have any other ongoing trauma of this nature in your life, the primary goal of PTSD treatment is to address this. Other ongoing problems include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Suicidal thoughts

Beyond this, broad treatment goals include:

  • Increasing your understanding of PTSD
  • Identify past PTSD issues and resolve or release them
  • Correct flawed and irrational thinking
  • Manage stress and anxiety more efficiently

Increasing your understanding of PTSD

  • Acquire the vocabulary to describe how PTSD makes you feel
  • Identify triggers for PTSD
  • Develop a short-term action plan
  • Accept the problems that PTSD is causing and acknowledge them
  • Link triggers to symptoms

Identify past PTSD issues and resolve or release them

  • Identify problematic symptoms and feelings
  • Address any current symptoms
  • Identify grief issues
  • Start managing grief
  • Identify sources of guilt
  • Identify sources of hurt

Correct flawed and irrational thinking

  • Identify areas of flawed thinking
  • Challenge irrational thoughts
  • Use positive thinking to negotiate stressors more confidently

Manage stress and anxiety more efficiently

  • Learn coping techniques to reduce PTSD symptoms
  • Reduce risk of exposure to triggers

How Common is PTSD?

According to the National Center for PTSD, 60% of men and 50% of women experience some form of trauma during their lifetimes. This does not always develop into PTSD, though.

PTSD and Substance Abuse

If you have PTSD and co-occurring alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, this is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.

The addiction typically involves any of the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Heroin

Common co-occurring mental health disorders include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Sometimes, the substance use disorder presents first, and in other cases the PTSD develops followed by the substance use disorder.

In most cases of addiction co-occurring with PTSD, the traumatic event precedes the substance abuse, typically triggering it. At this stage, abusing alcohol or drugs tends to inflame the symptoms of PTSD.

Of all those seeking treatment for substance use disorder, most estimates suggest half satisfy PTSD criteria. Although those with dual diagnoses often achieve poorer treatment outcomes, it’s perfectly possible to get back on track at the right treatment center for PTSD.

Why Choose Renaissance Recovery for PTSD Treatment?

Have you experienced a traumatic event, either recently or at some point in the past? If so, and if you’ve been bothered by any of the PTSD symptoms we outline today, you should consider engaging with one of our treatment programs at Renaissance Recovery Center.

All our treatment programs are highly personalized to meet your needs and most effectively pursue your treatment goals.

One of the most important things we’ll help you to do is combat any ongoing traumas so your life becomes more stable.

Here at Renaissance, our PTSD treatment programs use a proven combination of medication like antidepressants and psychotherapy like CBT.

If you find yourself grappling with substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder co-occurring with PTSD, enquire about our dual diagnosis treatment programs. Here, you’ll address both issues head-on and simultaneously for the best chance of beating both conditions.

All you need to do to get started is reach out to the friendly Renaissance admissions team at 866.330.9449.

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Call and ask the facility directly or call your own provider to determine if your insurance covers the treatment.

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