Different Types of PTSD and How to Cope with Them

Experiencing death, the threat of death, severe injury, or sexual assault can all lead to PTSD, a debilitating mental health condition.

It is an anxiety disorder that causes severe fear, nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance of situations that remind one of the traumatic events.

Different forms of PTSD result from various causes and may present in several ways.

Knowing about the different types of PTSD can help you better understand your own symptoms and how to cope with them.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

No two people are alike, and PTSD symptoms might present differently depending on the trauma the person encounters. Different types of PTSD diagnosis may include:

  • Thoughts, flashbacks, and memories of the traumatic event that intrude on your daily life
  • Avoidance of places and situations that serve as reminders of a traumatic event
  • Difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and nightmares
  • Hypervigilance, which is the feeling of being on constant guard
  • Detachment from others or feelings of numbness

They can be incredibly disruptive to daily life, making it difficult for people to cope with their daily lives.

It is essential for those experiencing the symptoms above and other forms of PTSD to seek help from a mental health professional.

Types of PTSD

Recognize the different types of PTSD so you can get the appropriate help.

Normal stress response

Normal stress responses are natural reactions to events that can be both positive and negative. These events can range from accidents, illnesses, injuries, and surgeries to more positive experiences such as weddings or the birth of a child.

The body’s reaction to these incidents is frequently temporary, has no impact on daily living, and has no long-term consequences.

The most effective way to manage normal stress responses is through group therapy and individual psychotherapy sessions. During these sessions, individuals learn how to identify their own triggers for stress and develop coping strategies for dealing with them.

Additionally, patients can manage their normal stress responses without any lasting effects on their mental health with the support of their loved ones. This support will help them process emotions healthily.

Acute stress disorder

Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) is a condition that can develop after exposure to a life-threatening event. Feelings of helplessness, anxiety and intense fear characterize it.

Symptoms of ASD may start between three days and one month following the traumatic event and, if left untreated, can progress to PTSD.

Common symptoms of ASD include the following:

  • Intrusive memories or flashbacks of the event
  • Nightmares or recurring dreams related to the trauma
  • Avoidance of activities or places associated with the trauma
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering details about the event
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Hypervigilance and exaggerated startle response

Treatment for acute stress disorder includes medication and psychotherapy.

The former include antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, while the latter may involve Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to identify and change negative thought patterns.

Many patients also find relief from group support from peers who have experienced similar traumas.

Uncomplicated PTSD

Uncomplicated PTSD is a mental health disorder caused by a single traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a severe car accident.

People with uncomplicated PTSD may experience intrusive thoughts multiple times a week, and display increased irritability and moodiness.

Other symptoms of uncomplicated PTSD include avoidance behaviors, disruptive mood changes, changed cognitive processing, and slowed reaction time.

Behaviors associated with uncomplicated PTSD after a car accident could include:

  • Taking longer routes to avoid the site of the crash
  • Driving slower
  • Snapping at friends and family when stressed.

You may treat uncomplicated PTSD with medication, CBT, and exposure therapy.

Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD is a severe mental illness brought on by several traumatic events, including domestic abuse, community violence, war, or sudden bereavement.

Those with complex PTSD may experience chronic pain, fatigue, aggression, sexual impulsivity, substance abuse, depression, and intense rage and panic.

They may also be diagnosed with dissociative disorders, antisocial personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Treatment of complex PTSD is more intensive and takes longer than uncomplicated PTSD. This treatment involves individual and group therapy sessions to help people process their experiences and learn new coping skills.

In addition, medication is prevalent in managing symptoms like anxiety or sadness.

Comorbid PTSD

Comorbid PTSD is when individuals experience PTSD alongside other co-occurring disorders related to trauma.

The individual is diagnosed with both PTSD and another mental health disorder, such as Substance Use Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, or Specific Phobias.

Unfortunately, people with PTSD often develop comorbid conditions, and you must address the treatment for each disorder separately.

A combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes may treat the condition to help individuals with comorbid PTSD control their symptoms.

How We Can Help

With the proper care and the help of family and friends, people with PTSD can recover.

As Tampa’s leading mental health provider, NeuroSpa offers a wide range of therapies and treatments to those with any form of PTSD.

If you or someone you love has been affected by a traumatic event, our skilled healthcare providers will create customized treatment plans for your needs. Learn more about our services and book a free consultation today.

This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.

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