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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Program

» Conditions & Treatments » Trauma » Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Program

At Queen’s Medical Center (QMC) we are interested in your psychological well-being, in addition to your physical recovery from trauma. Many trauma survivors will experience reactions during and after the traumatic event that concern them. This is especially true when you think your life or others’ lives are in danger. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one particular difficulty that can occur following traumatic life events. On average, about 7-8% of the population in the U.S. will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.   

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

  • Intrusions: Intrusive symptoms often occur when you do not want them to. These internal thoughts or feelings can be expressed through flashbacks or nightmares about the trauma. 
  • Avoidance: Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. An individual with PTSD will often attempt to avoid people, places, situations or internal states that remind them of a past trauma due to the distressing nature of these cues. 
  • Alterations in Arousal and Reactivity: A person with PTSD may constantly scan the environment, be hyper-reactive, and feel tense or jumpy. They may also be feel easily threatened or become angered quickly.
  • Negative Alteration in Mood and Cognitions: These symptoms often manifest in having negative views of oneself or the world, being emotionally numb, or feeling disconnected from people. 
  • Other symptoms of PTSD include:
    • Depression: Feelings of guilt and shame, helplessness or loss of interest in activities
    • Substance abuse: Turning to drugs and/or alcohol to manage the emotional burden 
    • Physical symptoms or chronic pain
    • Relationship problems: Feeling detached from your family and friends or having difficulties with intimacy 
    • Suicidal thoughts: Thoughts of taking your own life; if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call -1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Daily problems: Having difficulties with employment, school, or being social 

It is normal for these symptoms to improve slowly after a traumatic event. If they worsen or do not naturally reduce, seek professional support to help address these symptoms.

Who can get PTSD?

Anyone who has been exposed, witnessed, or survived a traumatic event can go on to develop symptoms of PTSD. Examples include: 

  • Survivors of violent actions, such as physical assaults, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence or stabbings
  • Learning that a close friend or close family member experienced trauma
  • Survivors of dangerous events, such as automobile, motorcycle, or moped accidents 
  • First responders or police officers who help trauma victims
  • Children who are neglected, and/or physically, sexually, or verbally abused
  • Survivors of natural disasters or terror attacks

Treatment for PTSD

PTSD is a very treatable condition although it may seem painful to address. Since memories cannot be erased, the focus on treatment is on processing the associated emotions systematically and managing the response to the traumatic memories. There are several different types of evidence-based interventions proven to reduce distress and to decrease the impact symptoms have on daily activities. To schedule an appointment with a mental health professional specially trained in helping people recovery from trauma, PTSD, and related difficulties, speak with your healthcare provider or call the Trauma Center at 808-691-8885.

Self-Care and Coping

Recovering from PTSD is a deliberate, ongoing daily process. Finding healthy self-care and coping strategies is one way to improve your recovery. 

  • Exercise: Exercise helps increase your mood and boosts your energy. Research indicates it can also help reduce depression and anxiety.
  • Sleep: Sleep is critical in recovery. Sleep has been proven to improve immune function and help recover from traumatic stressors. 
  • Support: Connect with family and friends to get the support you need. Isolation can make things worse. Research shows healthy emotional support can improve your health and healing. 
  • Relax: Find what allows you to feel calm and peaceful. Some examples are reading a book, yoga, meditation, walking the beach, or listening to the ocean. 
  • Refrain from alcohol and drugs: It is very common to self-medicate with alcohol or other substances when having unpleasant memories. Although it may help manage distress in the short-term, research indicates coping in this manner can make symptoms worse, delay recovery, and lead to substance use disorders.