Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (known as “PTSD”) defines the overwhelming symptoms and feelings that are associated with a traumatic event that has occurred. Women with PTSD typically have experienced a violent episode, rape, abuse from a family or friend or even witnessed a traumatic event that goes on to affect them for the rest of their life. Many will not get the necessary help they need in order to recover from the trauma they have experienced.
The majority of our patients at New Directions for Women have experienced PTSD and struggle with the feelings they are having due to the trauma they went through. Women are far more likely to experience PTSD than men and account for about 85% of the PTSD cases. They can struggle with finding ways to cope, often resulting in substance abuse and addiction.
Symptoms of PTSD
Women who experience PTSD from a violent episode, rape, attack, or other traumatic event will experience many symptoms that affect their daily lives. We see many women at our facility who use substances to cope with the unbearable symptoms that they are enduring every day.
Typical Symptoms of PTSD
- You relive the event through nightmares or flashbacks. You may have a racing heart or sweat profusely.
- Feel jittery, nervous, or tense. This may cause difficulty sleeping or concentrating on everyday activities like work, school, or other hobbies.
- Have negative thoughts and feelings that interfere with your daily life.
- Feel anger, guilt, or shame; or have more negative thoughts about yourself.
- You might feel empty or numb. It might be hard to show interest or happiness in activities you used to enjoy.
- You avoid situations that remind you of the event. For example, if you were in a car crash, you might avoid being in a car or at the location of the crash.
What is Trauma?
A trauma can be described as an event that occurs that results in serious stress or is detrimental to the survivors and their families. A traumatic event can include psychological, physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence, terrorism or war, death in the family, witnessing violence against others, natural disasters or other accidents.
Research has shown that women are over twice as likely to experience PTSD, the duration of post-traumatic symptoms, and display more sensitivities to the stimuli that remind them of the trauma they have experienced.
Even though women may experience more physical or mental consequences associated with their trauma, they often are hesitant to seek mental health or behavioral health treatment. Some may wait a long period of time before getting help, while others will never get help at all.
Women with Trauma and PTSD
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulting from aggravated assault, rape, or noncrime trauma affects over 4 million women in the United States, according to retrospective studies.”
After a traumatic event, both men and women experience symptoms that are related to PTSD due to their trauma. Women are more likely than men to have been assaulted in the past, or to have sustained injury by a relative or someone they know, but less likely to have used substances at the time of the assault or to require emergency surgery.
“However, epidemiological studies have yielded higher rates of PTSD in women than in men in general populations, and there are also a number of gender differences in clinical presentation after trauma.”
PTSD and Addiction
Women who have experienced PTSD will turn to alcohol or drugs in order to cope with the intense feelings and symptoms they are having daily. They may not receive the help they need in order to treat their addiction problem. Many times, PTSD and addiction go hand in hand and must be treated together. Our staff at New Directions for Women specialize in treating these disorders and have experience working with women who have addiction and co-occurring PTSD.
Treatment for PTSD
The negative effects that PTSD cause can be debilitating to a women’s life and future. They may experience constant graphic memories, feeling nervous or tense, anger or guilt or feeling empty and numb. These feelings can severely disturb the person’s life, causing them to suffer daily.
The main goals of treatment are:
- Improve your symptoms and allow you to live a happier life
- Teach you coping strategies to help with your PTSD
- Restore your self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence
Types of Treatment
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Many women wait too long to get the treatment they need for their PTSD and trauma. Prolonged exposure therapy may be able to help cope with the feelings around a previous traumatic event. With individual sessions that consist of around 90 minutes each, our therapists can help the person work through the feelings and confront them in order to heal.
It’s important to understand the connection between our bodies, minds and our spirit during our holistic spiritual care. Our healing treatments, including our bio sound lounge, mindfulness meditation, and acupuncture services, are available to provide a calming atmosphere for our patients to heal during their recovery. These services help to build internal comfort during the quiet time we are not processing our trauma.
Services for Children and Families
We offer services for the entire family, including children up to the age of 12. Our program understands the need for a mother to stay with her children while she is going through the recovery process, along with needing the additional support from her family. We have individual and family therapy options available to our patients.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR therapy has been known to help women recover much more quickly from PTSD and trauma than from traditional counseling or talk therapy. It uses bilateral stimulation to change the meaning of painful events which allows the person to recover from their trauma.
Treatment at New Directions for Women
At New Directions for Women we meet treat every individual and are committed to serving ALL women. This means, we treat all backgrounds, situations, and ages. We know the importance of including family members during recovery, which is why we offer children’s services, family counseling and family 12-step principles.
Our program has been proven to be effective because it allows women to recover with other women. Women have different needs than men, and addiction treatment modalities should reflect the needs of the women in our program. The reason for these differences is biological and sociological.
Contact our caring intake coordinators for more information about our rehab for women in Costa Mesa. We are happy to verify your insurance benefits and answer any questions about treatment.