PTSD: How Inpatient Treatment Can Help
Updated: Jul 24
PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.
Most people who go through a traumatic event can temporarily have difficulty adjusting and coping. With time, they get past the initial shock (and self-care) and begin to recover. In some cases, however, the effects of trauma don't subside over time. Instead, they get worse and last for months, maybe years. Symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety start interfering with day-to-day functioning, which may be a sign of PTSD. Memories fuse with traumatic emotional state and get stored in the brain (hippocampus and amygdala) and are easily recalled automatically by similar emotional states, locations or people. These are the triggers that keep people reliving the traumatic event.
In addition to these symptoms, those who have experienced trauma might also be prone to substance abuse or risk-taking behaviour to escape their stressors. Unsurprisingly, untreated PTSD has some dire consequences on a person's life.
Thankfully, with the proper care, PTSD can become manageable. Read on to learn more about PTSD and the benefits of inpatient treatment programs.
What is PTSD
A shocking, frightening, or dangerous event can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is common to feel afraid during and after a traumatic incident. The body's natural response to fear or dangerous situations is the fight-flight response, which changes our hormone balance to prepare the body to defend against or avoid danger. This physiological response is partially responsible for the short-term symptoms we feel after a traumatic event. Usually, these short-term symptoms subside after a few weeks.
Those who continue to struggle might be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People with PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when not in danger.
Symptoms of PTSD
The onset of PTSD symptoms typically occurs within three months of the traumatic event. Still, in some cases, symptoms may not emerge for years afterward. To be diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms must persist for over a month and interfere with relationships or work. The condition may develop in a variety of ways. Some patients recover in six months, while others continue to struggle for years. Some patients develop a chronic condition.
According to Mayo Clinic, PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. PTSD symptoms may shift over time or vary among people.
Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event
Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event
Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event
Negative changes in thinking and mood
Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:
Negative thoughts about yourself, other people, or the world
Hopelessness about the future
Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Feeling detached from family and friends
Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
Feeling emotionally numb
Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions
Symptoms of changes in physical and emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:
Being easily startled or frightened
Always being on guard for danger
Self-destructive behaviour, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behaviour
Overwhelming guilt or shame
How Inpatient Treatment Can Help with PTSD
There are many different ways to treat PTSD - most often with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP), Direct Neurofeedback (DNF), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are also very effective.
Inpatient treatment centers are just one way of treating PTSD. They are highly effective and offer a safe space where you can focus on your recovery.
In addition to therapy, inpatient programs offer structure and support that help people with PTSD feel safe and supported. This structure can help people suffering from PTSD focus on self-care and addressing their symptoms.
While treatment plans vary from person to person, each person's goals typically include reducing anxiety and stress, controlling emotions, eliminating flashbacks and nightmares, lessening mood swings, and restoring self-esteem. Each program also varies in approach and structure. The types of therapy, activities, and duration can be different based on the treatment facility you visit. For example, at Nomina Wellness, we design our 6-week integrated Core Program around the STAMP wellness model designed by Dr. Adriana Wilson .
SAFETY: We need an emotional, physical, and financial safety
TEAM: We all need our 'tribe'
AIM/ABILITY: We all need purpose and something we are good at
MEANING: We can find meaning in spirit, activities, work, etc.
PLAY: Be Curious! We need challenges to grow.
Again, each treatment program is different, so it is essential to research their overarching philosophies, specialties, and which would best suit your needs before you visit.
Benefits of Inpatient Treatment
Inpatient treatment allows people to receive attention for their PTSD symptoms without worrying about things like transportation, childcare, or other aspects of life that may get in the way of recovery. It also gives people time to work on their PTSD symptoms one at a time instead of trying to address all of their issues at once. In addition, inpatient treatment allows people with PTSD to get extra support from their peers who have gone through similar experiences. This can help build confidence and provide some much-needed accountability between patients. Finally, inpatient treatment allows people with PTSD to take an active role in their recovery. This can help them learn how to manage their symptoms and develop coping skills they can use outside therapy sessions.
Another common reason for choosing inpatient treatment is that it works better for patients with co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. This is because inpatient treatment centers can address each condition separately and provide more personalized care for each patient.
PTSD is a very serious condition. It can have a lasting impact on your life if left untreated. If you think the symptoms of PTSD are affecting your day-to-day living and you need a place to get help, you can make an appointment with your doctor or local mental health provider. If you are experiencing difficulty coping with daily life due to this condition, inpatient treatment is a great option for recovery. Inpatient treatment will help you address your PTSD symptoms and learn to cope better with future stressful situations. Inpatient treatment programs provide vulnerable clients with a safe environment where they can focus on their recovery. Inpatient treatment helps you identify, understand, and manage your PTSD symptoms and learn to live a healthy, more fulfilling life.
"Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTDD)". Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967?p=1