About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
A traumatic event is an experience characterized by extreme stress or fear. Most people will undergo a traumatic event in their life, and a majority of traumatized people recover after a couple of months. If you continue to struggle with stress and fear long after the traumatic event, this may be sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People of all ages and backgrounds can develop PTSD following a broad range of traumatic experiences that include: physical/sexual assault, abuse, natural disasters, intense situations during military service, and more.
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Trauma symptoms often manifest shortly after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until years afterward.
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may include:
- Avoiding situations that allow memories of the traumatic event to resurface
- Guilt or other negative feelings about yourself or others
- Increased irritability
- Memory difficulties, particularly related to the traumatic event
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event
- Sleep difficulties and/or nightmares
Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Not all people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event develop PTSD; certain people may be more susceptible to the condition.
Risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder may include:
- Comorbid conditions: Individuals with a history of mental illness or substance abuse may be more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event
- Experience of the event: If one’s experience of the traumatic event involved pain or extreme feelings of fear or helplessness, they may be more likely to develop PTSD
- Personal history: Additional stresses and a lack of social support following the traumatic event make PTSD more likely, as does previous trauma
Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at UT Health Austin
PTSD is usually treated with a combination of medication (e.g., antidepressants) and psychotherapy to help you process your experiences. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of treatment.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Adult Psychiatry care team includes a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and psychologist who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
Your initial appointments will be scheduled with the team’s psychiatrist to collect a comprehensive history, clarify presenting concerns, and discuss potential treatment options. If warranted, treatment recommendations may include ongoing psychiatric care provided by a psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) and/or behavioral therapy services provided by a psychologist.
We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to better address all aspects of your condition. At the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, we create custom pathways to address you, the whole patient, by providing specialized treatment and management plans. Imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed.