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Four Signs You May Have PTSD

Four Signs You May Have PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a well-known topic of concern for military veterans and their families, physicians, and mental health professionals.

PTSD is caused from witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, such as war or natural disaster. When considering PTSD, theorists speculate the mind is unable to process the information and feelings traumatic events induce in a normal way. According to Psych Central, “It is as if the thoughts and feelings at the time of the traumatic event take on a life of their own, later intruding into consciousness and causing distress.”

Symptoms of PTSD may manifest within one month of a traumatic event or years after the event. These symptoms can cause significant problems in social situations, relationships, and daily life.

What are the four types of PTSD symptoms?

PTSD symptoms are generally split into four groups and without help can last a lifetime. If you are experiencing symptoms from the below four categories, you may have PTSD.

1) Avoidance
People who suffer from PTSD often avoid places, thoughts, situations, or people that remind them of the trauma. They may, for example, find large crowds to be distressing and will use avoidance as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, avoidance keeps PTSD symptoms from improving and allows them to persist.

2) Intrusive memories
Intrusive thoughts and memories cause people with PTSD to repeatedly relive their traumatic events. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, or nightmares. Certain things may act as reminders of the event that caused great distress, such as anniversary dates, places, objects, sounds, or smells.

3) Negative changes in thinking and mood
Negative changes in thinking and mood is a common indicator of PTSD. Thoughts tend to shift toward a more negative, hopeless outlook. Memory problems, including being unable to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, are also common. Changes like these make maintaining close relationships or enjoying personal hobbies more difficult.

4) Changes in physical and emotional reactions
People with PTSD experience changes in physical and emotional reactions, also called arousal symptoms. Reactions like the inability to relax especially in public places, scanning rooms to assess for danger, or looking for the nearest exits to escape are common arousal symptoms.

How can therapy help with PTSD?

Fortunately, the often debilitating symptoms of PTSD are not ones have to live with. Research has found that seeing a therapist with proper training can be more successful in treating PTSD than medication. However, without proper treatment PTSD can last a lifetime.

Our therapists are highly trained trauma experts. We are committed to easing the stresses induced by trauma and PTSD and helping you lead a bright, beautiful future. We specialize in working with military personnel and veterans, and our techniques are designed to work for you.

How do I make an appointment?

We have several therapists available Monday through Friday who would be happy to schedule an appointment with you as soon as you are ready.

To make an appointment at either our Salt Lake City or Layton office, please call or text (385) 231-VETS.

If you are a civilian, please visit our Freedom Counseling website for more information on how we can assist you.

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Stigma and How to Combat It

Stigma and How to Combat It

For those returning from the battlefield the last thing on their mind is accessing help for what they have experienced. Many return to civilian life with the everyday stressors of family, friends, civilian jobs, and working back on base. As a result, there is limited time to process what happened on their last deployment. And when we consider the stigma related to mental health, the stress compounds. So, how does one find the time or the desire to ask for help after what they have experienced?

What is stigma and where does it come from?

Stigma comes from three different perspectives: self-stigma, organizational stigma, and social stigma.

Self-stigma is generated for some service members and veterans because they have served with peers and officers in the past who have told them that receiving care is weak and that their unit will not trust them if they seek professional help. Another reason for not seeking therapy could be they don’t want to their unit leaders to treat them differently.

Social stigma is stimulated by negative concepts and attitudes communicated by others. It often arises in similar ways as self-stigma. Society has asked us to conform to certain standards and if we steer away from those standards, we will be viewed as “different” or “out of line.” For example, society has different standards for how men and women should act in day-to-day life. Men are expected to be masculine and show little to no emotion, while women are expected to be reactive and emotional.

Organizational stigma is generated through negative or discriminatory perspectives that result in career- or life-consequences based on organizational policies. Many service members worry about possible career or professional consequences. For example, many are concerned that if they ask for professional assistance, their clearances could change, they’d have limited access to weapons, or they’d have a harder time getting promoted.

What are some consequences of stigma?

Each stigma creates roadblocks for service members and veterans and adds to the stress they are already experiencing. As a result, many service members and veterans remain unaware of their own mental health issues long after they become apparent to others. These issues can begin to interfere with vital areas of functioning and inhibit their ability to cope with day-to-day activities.

What can be done to combat stigma?

When it comes to self-stigma, it’s important to remember that psychological injuries can heal, just like physical combat injuries. We encourage members of the military with mental health problems to seek peer support and remind them of confidentiality and its limits under the United States Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

When addressing social stigma, we ask service members to so an assessment of their personal beliefs and attitudes. We guide them to a space of recognizing that accepting help is not a sign of weakness. If a client is willing, we invite family members and/or significant others to participate in the process of overcoming stigma and undergoing therapy.

When dealing with organizational stigma, we help service members and veterans identify ways they can seek treatment that without negatively impacting their career. We act as advisors to organizations whose policies and regulations place time limitations on those who seek mental health care. We want all service members to receive the care that they deserve and work to get them back to health and happiness.

How do I make an appointment?

We have several therapists available Monday through Friday who would be happy to schedule an appointment with you as soon as you are ready.

To make an appointment at either our Salt Lake City or Layton office, please call or text (385) 231-VETS.

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Non VA Military and Veteran Counseling Center Launches

Non VA Military and Veteran Counseling Center Launches

Non VA Military and Veteran Counseling Center Launches
In an effort to bridge the gap and provide an additional resource for military veterans and their families, the Military and Veteran Counseling Center (MVCC) has recently opened in Utah. It opened two locations in Salt Lake and Davis County to provide critical mental health therapy.  This new organization is not affiliated with the VA but specializes in providing treatment to deserving service members in any branch of the military whether they were honorably or dishonorably discharged.

The owner of the Military and Veteran Counseling Center, Tom Cutler, is a fellow veteran who served as a sniper in the United States Army.  “MVCC supports the VA and the many great services that they currently provide.  Our goal is to provide an additional resource and share in the same great purpose of helping serve America’s veterans.”  
 
MVCC will come at a critical time when the percentage of active duty members diagnosed with PTSD has increased from 1 to 5.  A Pentagon study in May 2014 found a 50% increase in reports of military sexual assaults and the Institute of Medicine recently launched a report that only half of the veterans that served in Iraq and Afghanistan will receive recommended therapy despite efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs to beef up its mental health staffing.
“My passion is working with these service members and their families,” therapist Melanie Squire says.  “There is something amazing about being part of the process where individuals finally bring peace back into their lives.”  Melanie is a trauma and PTSD therapist whose background includes working with active duty veterans in a psychiatric hospital to homeless veterans in addiction facilities.
The mission of MVCC is simple: “providing superior therapy for military, veterans and their families.”  Specialists are masters in their field with certified combat-related trauma training and an essential knowledge of military culture.  They advertise a commitment in offering the best treatments based on the top research models worldwide. These include areas of expertise in PTSD, sexual trauma, reintegration, grief and loss, addiction, depression and anxiety, couples and family. MVCC uses PTSD models researched by Kaiser Permanente that found 100 percent of the single-trauma victims and 77 percent of multiple trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after six 50-minute sessions.
MVCC has no waitlist and clients can often be seen same day.  Hours of operation are set up to meet demanding schedules and include 7 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday and even Saturday morning sessions.  The company expects to grow to meet demands and does Skype therapy for those who don’t live close by.
More information can be found at www.militarycounselingcenter.com
or calling (385) 231-VETS
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