Rogers Behavioral Health

Trauma and PTSD symptoms and treatment: Q&A with Rogers experts

Posted on 10/25/22 01:03:pm

 

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More than 8 million American adults suffer from PTSD, with those who have experienced previous traumatic events at a higher risk of developing the disorder. Rogers’ Chad Wetterneck, PhD, and Jennifer Parra Nelsen, MA, LPC, recently took part in a Q&A to talk about the importance of understanding trauma, PTSD, and the treatments available.

Three types of trauma

  1. Acute trauma – Single incident traumas such as a car accident or natural disaster.
  2. Chronic trauma – Repeated or prolonged violence or abuse.
  3. Complex trauma – Exposure to multiple and different types of traumatic events.

“Statistically, 50 to 60% of people experience at least one trauma in their life, but only about 5 to 10% go on to develop PTSD symptoms,” explains Parra Nelsen. “Trauma is very subjective, so two people involved in a car accident can have very different experiences. One may walk away and experience very little impact to their life where another person can have an intense reaction and no longer feel comfortable driving, have nightmares about the event, and feel guilty or shame about their reaction.”

Common signs and symptoms of PTSD

  1. Re-experiencing the trauma. This may include nightmares or flashbacks where it feels like the event is reoccurring.
  2. An individual may avoid people, places, activities, situations, or objects that remind them of the trauma.
  3. Cognitive and mood changes, such as trouble recalling events or negative thoughts about yourself or the world.
  4. Difficulty maintaining relationships.
  5. Difficulty feeling positive emotions.
  6. High-risk or self-harming behaviors.
  7. Trouble concentrating.
  8. Increased startle response (feeling jumpy or shaky).

Keep in mind that a diagnosis of PTSD requires a discussion with a trained professional. Many people may experience these symptoms immediately after a trauma; for some, the symptoms go away within a few months, while others may recover more slowly or not at all.

“It’s important for people to know that there are evidence-based therapies that have been researched and approved to help,” says Dr. Wetterneck. “Prolonged exposure has been tested in adults and adolescents and is primarily what we use at Rogers. There’s also cognitive processing therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).”

To learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment for PTSD, view the video above or visit our trauma and PTSD facts page.

How Rogers can help
Rogers provides evidence-based treatment for trauma and PTSD. To request a free, confidential screening, call 800-767-4411 for treatment in Brown Deer, Oconomowoc, and West Allis. For all other locations, call 888-927-2203.  

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Call 800-767-4411 or go to rogersbh.org to request a free screening.