Understanding the Different Types of PTSD

types of PTSDMany veterans live with the effects of a frightening event for a long time and may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can come and go over time or change throughout a person’s life. Many people with PTSD experience symptoms that can keep them from functioning well in their daily lives.

People have different reactions to stress and trauma, and it’s critical to recognize the differences between the different types of PTSD so people can get the care and support they need to manage their symptoms.

This article will explore the different types of post-traumatic stress disorder. If you or someone you love struggles with symptoms of PTSD, you are not alone. Reach out to the knowledgeable team at Alamo Behavioral Health now to learn about our supportive, comprehensive PTSD treatment plans.

The Difference Between a Normal Stress Response and PTSD

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Most people experience periods of stress throughout the day. People may get stuck in traffic, run late to work, have a heated conversation, or other common sources of everyday stress.:

Our bodies respond to stress in several ways. One of the primary responses is an increase in adrenaline, a hormone associated with our “fight or flight” response. Adrenaline can cause increased respiration, a burst of energy, and increased blood flow to large muscles. Our stress response may be triggered by:

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Increased situational stress or tension
  • Illness

The symptoms of normal stress go away once the source of the stress is over. For instance, someone may feel stressed about a job interview and then be able to regain their calm once it is over. People may develop strategies to help them halt their stress response, such as talking to a friend or therapist, exercising, performing breathing exercises, or practicing meditation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is different from a normal stress response. People with PTSD experience long-lasting, disruptive symptoms long after a traumatic event ends. Living with untreated PTSD can be debilitating and may prevent people from working, socializing, or functioning well in other areas.

Understanding the Different Types of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an umbrella term that describes several varieties of PTSD. Typically, when people use the term PTSD, they are referring to a specific set of symptoms that may include:

  • Flashbacks–reliving the traumatic event
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Anger or violent behaviors
  • Nightmares
  • Unwanted, intrusive thoughts about the incident
  • Avoiding anything related to the incident
  • Guilt or shame
  • Feeling “on-guard” at all times

PTSD is common among people who have experienced a significantly stressful event. Many veterans develop PTSD after combat, deployment, or as a result of incidents that occur at some point in their training or service.

But PTSD can present differently among people. Here is some basic information about the different types of PTSD. Reach out to the mental health professionals at Alamo Behavioral Health to learn more about these conditions or explore your treatment options.

Dissociative PTSD

Dissociative PTSD was added to the updated version of the DSM-V in 2013. The primary features of dissociative PTSD include:

  • Emotional detachment
  • Depersonalization
  • High rate of co-occurrence with other mental health conditions
  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Dissociative flashbacks
  • Severe PTSD symptoms

Dissociative therapy may respond to cognitive-behavioral therapies or other types of treatment, including eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Uncomplicated PTSD

Veterans who develop uncomplicated PTSD have symptoms that closely align with other forms of PTSD. They may have flashbacks where they relive the traumatic event and exhibit behavioral changes like avoiding anything related to the event.

The most significant difference between this type of PTSD and others is that people with uncomplicated PTSD do not typically have co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression.

Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD can develop when a person experiences multiple traumas over a period of months or years instead of a single traumatic event. Veterans may develop complex PTSD after serving in combat. It is also common among children who experience frequent or ongoing abuse.

People with complex PTSD may experience physical symptoms related to their stored trauma, such as chronic fatigue or pain without a clear physical source.

Comorbid PTSD

People with comorbid PTSD have at least one co-occurring mental health condition, such as:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Substance use disorder
  • Panic disorder

Many people with PTSD live with a mental health disorder, making comorbid PTSD relatively common. People with co-morbid PTSD must seek dual-diagnosis treatment that can effectively treat their mental health symptoms and PTSD at the same time.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a treatable condition. Getting the correct type of treatment for your specific type of PTSD is essential so you can manage your symptoms, feel better, and experience better functioning.

Find PTSD Support Now

If you or someone you love needs treatment and support to overcome PTSD, the help you need is just a phone call away. Our trauma-informed treatment program can help you find an effective way to deal with trauma, PTSD, and addiction. Reach out to the caring specialists at Alamo Behavioral Health now to learn about our holistic mental health treatment programs or to schedule an intake assessment.

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