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Offering Therapy for PTSD in Edmonton

Most people experience some form of anxiety after a distressing event. Usually, the body's trauma-related chemicals return to normal with little time and recovery. However, other individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a more severe condition. It involves distress that lasts months or years because the mind and body reactivate and then release stress hormones.

If someone you love struggles with PTSD-related depression in Edmonton, our team at Gary J. Meiers, Ph.D., Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers, Ph.D. and Associates Ltd., can help.

What is PTSD?

PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder is a kind of mental illness that involves death or the fear of death, significant injury, or sexual assault due to trauma. When something is traumatic, it is terrifying, overpowering, and distressing. Many people report they felt helpless to stop or avoid a traumatic incident because it occurred unexpectedly.


History of PTSD


There have been many events in history where PTSD was identified among various individuals. There are reports in Greek accounts of famous soldiers being triggered after witnessing their comrades die in battle and suffering near-death experiences themselves. Many known authors and poets, including Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Stephen Crane, mentioned the disease in their most famous works, such as Macbeth and Red Badge of Courage.


The disease also became known to people as 'shell shock' during World War 1. After periods of bombing during World War I, the term 'shell shock' was invented to characterize the psychological suffering experienced by veterans. Shell shock is characterized by sleeplessness, nightmares, racing pulse, headaches, tremors, forgetfulness, and regressive behaviours, especially in response to loud and unexpected stimuli.


PTSD has been regarded as a moral failing rather than a mental health condition throughout history. For this community, therapy includes "ignorance," "burying," "ridiculing," and "chastisement." The condition was termed "irritable heart" by Civil War doctors, who treated it with symptom-controlling medicines before sending their patients to fight.


Who Is at Risk of PTSD?

PTSD can affect any individual at any point in life. When exposed to a shocking or overwhelming event, every person, irrespective of age, runs the risk of developing PTSD. These events could be directly physical abuse or mental abuse. In some cases, one does not have to go through a traumatic event by himself or herself. Just experiencing the extreme distress of a loved one from close quarters can also lead to PTSD.


Post-traumatic stress disorder, however, does not solely depend on social and physical factors. It is also known to be influenced by genetics. This means your genes may play a role in deciding whether you are more vulnerable to the disorder.

What Are the Common Causes of PTSD?

PTSD may occur after someone experiences an incident that involves the threat of death or injury. These incidents could include:

Sexual or physical assault
Accidents, such as a car accident or natural disaster

While doctors don't know why some people develop PTSD and others don't, a person's temperament, family life, history and genetics can affect their likelihood of experiencing this disorder.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms also set this condition apart from milder forms of trauma. This disorder may begin to manifest within a few months of the event or years after it occurred. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, and negative intrusive thoughts.

Typically, symptoms can fall into the following four categories:

Intrusive memories
Nightmares, flashbacks, and reactions to trigger situations
Emotional numbness and detachment, avoiding interacting with things that trigger memories
Negative mood changes
Guilt, blame, loss of interest
Easily startled, hypervigilance, trouble sleeping, and emotional outbursts

These indicators show that PTSD is more nuanced than depression. We meet several individuals and families looking to resolve the various aspects of PTSD in Edmonton. If left untreated, PTSD can lead to relationship issues and substance abuse. Suicidal thoughts also signal that it's time to talk with a Registered Psychologist.

If your symptoms seem severe, last for longer than a month, and feel uncontrollable, talk with a professional about your depression. Our Edmonton office is ready to help you learn to treat this difficult disorder.

To schedule your first appointment, call us at 780-433-2269.

Short-term and Long-term Impacts of PTSD

There are many psychological as well as physical difficulties that are closely associated with PTSD. Some of the conditions triggered by PTSD might be short-term, while others may have a lasting influence on your life.

These difficulties include:

Depression and anxiety
Emotional numbness
Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
Short-term memory loss

You might also be at a higher risk for health problems like:

Heart diseases
Respiratory issues
Digestive problems
...and more

Timely diagnosis and efficient care are vital to managing PTSD. We provide therapy for PTSD for Edmonton residents or throughout Alberta via our online services. Call us to help reduce the risk of PTSD-related health complications.

The Best Form of Treatment for PTSD: CBT and EMDR

The effectiveness of different modes of PTSD treatment varies from person to person since everyone is unique in how they perceive and respond to trauma. Two of the best treatments used for PTSD are described below:


EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a type of psychotherapy that makes you reprocess traumatic events to help you perceive them in a fact-based manner. It involves a psychological activity where you are asked to recall the trauma-inducing event, accompanied by bilateral eye movements or sounds. Ultimately, the therapy enables you to disassociate the negative emotions from the trauma and aids in recovery from PTSD.


CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy is also an effective treatment for PTSD. It is a type of psychotherapy that includes aspects like exposure therapy and cognitive restructuring to provide you with respite from PTSD symptoms in both the short and long term. Exposure therapy allows you to revisit traumatic experiences while backing you up with the assurance of safety. On the other hand, cognitive restructuring involves activities that help you re-evaluate a situation through a different and more balanced thinking pattern.

What to Do If Your Loved Ones Have PTSD?

Here are some things you can do to support someone who has PTSD:

If you suspect that your friend or family member is affected by PTSD, the first step is to help them with the right diagnosis by a mental health professional
You may accompany them during consultations with the healthcare provider
Motivate them to follow the treatment plan
Be attentive to their needs and provide emotional support
Become more aware of PTSD and how it affects individuals
Try to identify PTSD symptom triggers and minimize them

Reach out to us if your loved ones in Edmonton need PTSD treatment. You can also take a look at our resources to know more about this condition. 

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