Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD ) is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event perceived as dangerous; from life threatening to loss of livelihood or marriage.  When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But, in PTSD, this reaction is changed or damaged.  Often there are a number of high stress-related occurrences happening at one time.  The fear may be compounded by feelings of being trapped, helpless, hopeless, and wanting to help others without the ability. People who have PTSD almost always feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:

1. Re-experiencing symptoms: 

Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.

2. Avoidance symptoms: 

  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
  • Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance    symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her    personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.

3. Hyperarousal symptoms: 

Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.

It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.

4 Types of Treatment

The four most common treatments for PTSD include psychodynamic, cognitive-behavior therapy, pharmacotherapy, and group therapy. And, there is Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). 

3 Phases of Therapy

Therapy can be divided into three phases:
Establishing trust, safety, and "earning a right to gain access" to carefully guarded traumatic material.
Trauma-focused therapy, exploring traumatic material in depth, reducing intrusive recollections with avoidant/numbing symptoms.
Helping the patient disconnect from the trauma and reconnect with family, friends, and society.

Therapeutic Methods

Therapeutic methods might include Psychodynamic Therapy (talk therapy), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (designed to manage anxiety), Pharmacotherapy (medications to reduce anxiety symptoms while allowing individual and group therapies to work), Group Therapy (mutual support from others with the same experiences), and Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) for developing more appropriate understanding of the trauma to help in managing the trauma.



Dr. Jim Wayland

Dr. Jim Wayland has been in private practice over 30 years.  His focus is with adults and adult issues.  Jim’s approach to psychotherapy has been nationally recognized for offering positive, can-do results to people who have been struggling with significant life-difficulties, trauma, and emotional discouragement.

Jim uses psychodynamic and behavioral psychology methods to provide effective, efficient lasting results.  He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, a Fellow in the Association of Scientific Hypnotherapy, and is certified in Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).  Jim uses his education and his experience in helping people suffering from personal crisis, emotional and physical trauma, addiction, stress-related illness, and chronic pain.

Dr. Wayland’s research background has been in Neuropsychology and the Psychophysiology of Hypnosis. He is also experienced in college teaching, public speaking, mentoring and coaching.  He is known nationally and internationally for his work with addictions – alcohol, drugs and sexual addictions.  Jim is a member of the Texas Medical Association’s Speakers Bureau.  He is noted for having a unique ability to connect with others using skills of insight, experience, and finding the truths which circumstances have often hidden.