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Been in a Car Crash or Work Accident? Think You Might have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Aug 17, 2007
As a psychologist and marriage counselor, I find that there can be up to 25 warning signs that indicate you or a family member would benefit from counseling or therapy when experiencing PTSD.

First, what are these signs?

1. Exposure to possible death or serious injury that resulted in an intense feeling of fear, hopelessness or horror

2. Intrusive, distressing thoughts or images that recall the disturbing event

3. Disturbing dreams associated with the trauma

4. Flashbacks suggestive of the traumatic event reoccuring

5. Intense distress triggered by reminders of the traumatic event

6. Physiologically-manifested reactivity i.e. sweating, palpitations etc. triggered by cues of the trauma

7. Compulsive avoidance of thoughts, feelings or conversations about the trauma

8. Avoidance of activity, people or places associated with the traumatic event

9. Inability to recall important aspects of the trauma

10. Feelings of detachment

11. Inability to experience a full range of emotions

12. Onset of fatalistic or pessimistic attitudes

13. Sudden sleep disturbances

14. Sudden irritability

15. Concentration impairment

16. Pervasive worry

17. Extreme startle response

18. Feelings of depression, anger or despair

19. Abuse of alcohol or drugs

20 Onset of suicidal thoughts

21. Onset of conflict in relationships

22. Inability to function normally because of compelling anxiety

If you experience any of these symptoms, it would behoove you to seek therapy or counseling.

But what will your counseling accomplish? How will it benefit you?

1. It should reduce the negative impact that the traumatic event has had on your life.

2. You will learn to develop and implement effective coping skills to fulfill normal responsibilities and participate constructively in relationships.

3. You will be able to recall the traumatic event without being overwhelmed by painful emotions.

4. You will discover how to minimize escape and denial and implement constructive behaviors that promote healing and functional living

5. You will be able to sleep without disturbing dreams of the trauma

6. You will be able to replace negative, distorted thinking with constructive self-enhancing and accurate thinking processes.

7. You will be able to implement anger control techniques to subdue your irritation and anger about the event.

8. You will be able to eliminate any reliance you have on abuse of mind-altering substances

9. You will be able to implement relaxation training as a coping mechanism for tension, stress and anxiety relating to the trauma

10. You will be able to eliminate the catastrophisizing and futility which saturates your thinking about the trauma

11. You should be able to see the future as hopeful and positive rather than bleak and depressing

12. Upon repeated re-telling about the trauma you will be able to do so with gradually reduced anxiety

13. You will be able to reduce any dissociative symptoms associated with the trauma

14. You will be able to use relaxation and positive imagery techniques to reduce tension, anxiety and any sleep problems related to the trauma

15. You will be able to identify and reduce any palpitations, agitation, catastrophic expectations, headaches or profuse sweating caused by the trauma

16. You should be able to approach previously avoided situations related to the trauma with much less stress by using relaxation methods, deep breathing and positive imagery.

17. You should have a plan to address the negative impact your PTSD has had on your job and family and be implementing steps to resolve those problems

18. You will have developed an awareness of PTSD, how it develops and worsens and steps to take to reduce the impact of any future relapses
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert marriage counselor and psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt or learn more about counseling at: http://www.nextdayappointment.com
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