Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a potentially debilitating condition that is common among military veterans and first responders but can occur in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Exposure to trauma can mean experiencing it or witnessing it, in person or repeatedly in media. Distressing feelings are oftentimes experienced in the days and weeks following exposure to trauma, but should normally diminish as time goes on. However, in those with PTSD, the distressing feelings persist and develop into more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, fear, and intense and vivid recollections of the traumatic event (i.e. flashbacks, nightmares). A Person with PTSD might avoid people, places, or things that remind them of the event, or might be unable to stop thinking about it. They may experience distressing memories, problems with sleep, always being tense and on-guard, or feeling emotionally numb. PTSD can also manifest in feelings of guilt or shame, anger, irritability, social isolation, and if left untreated, may lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. A proper diagnosis of and treatment plan for PTSD is potentially life-saving.
Diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
At Nelmar Health Centers, we begin the process of diagnosing PTSD by conducting a comprehensive psychological evaluation. If the client is experiencing changes in their cognitive abilities, we conduct a thorough neuropsychological evaluation to determine the causes of these difficulties. We also use a qEEG brain scan as a supplemental measure to examine the areas of the brain that are functionally out of balance. Understanding the underlying physiology helps us establish the factors contributing to the clinical and behavioral problems and design the most appropriate treatment. In addition, we conduct a whole-body diagnostic assessment that looks at a client’s nutrition and lifestyle habits, medications they are taking, as well as a thorough review of family and medical history (including blood work), to explore all the factors that may be exacerbating the client’s symptom presentations. This information is then used by our multidisciplinary team to create a treatment plan that is custom-tailored for every person and unique presentation.
Treatment of PTSD
We use the results from our diagnostic process to design a comprehensive treatment plan unique to each individual to address the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that will foster the client's recovery. An essential part of the treatment plan is neurofeedback, where we work directly on the brain using neuroplasticity in order to reorganize neural networks to facilitate healing. In addition, various evidence-based psychotherapy modalities are utilized in the treatment. For instance, we offer Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT). During VRT clients navigate through digitally-created environments and complete tasks designed to serve as exposure therapy, which has strong evidence of effectiveness with PTSD. We also integrate Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) techniques into the treatment plan to teach you the skills you need to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals. Family and group therapy are excellent treatment modalities during which we provide psychoeducation about the symptom presentations and increase knowledge and immediate support. In addition, our counselors support these interventions with mindfulness and art techniques to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals.
The treatment plan also includes sessions with our holistic health practitioner and exercise expert. They educate you on how diets filled with processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to increased symptoms and make recommendations for dietary and lifestyle changes as well as massage with essential oils performed by our massage therapist, which will achieve stress reduction, and improve mood and sleep. Finally, our trauma-informed meditation and yoga classes are a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle, enhance your treatment plan, maintain the gains you have achieved, and be a part of our small community where you can meet friends and find understanding and social support.
Our professional trained in prescription medication carefully evaluates the psychoactive medications utilized by the client. As a result, drugs that directly contribute to individuals' cognitive problems are gradually eliminated or significantly reduced. This approach also ensures a healthy brain and strong body and freedom from dependence on multiple drugs leading to debilitating side effects. At Nelmar Health Centers, we believe in the research showing that the healing and maintenance of well-being are best achieved with cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle changes strengthened with ongoing social support.
While undergoing treatment, each client receives continued qEEg and psychological and cognitive testing to monitor progress and provide psychoeducation to ensure understanding of where they are in their healing at every step of the treatment process. We regularly modify the neurofeedback protocol and the overall treatment plan based on this information. Every change in the treatment plan is made after a thorough review by each multidisciplinary team member and approved by the client.
For clients that may need more rigorous treatment interventions, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).