On High Alert: PTSD

ptsd trauma military

Most people alive will experience some kind of trauma in their lives. Only a small percentage of those millions will fully develop post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a mental illness marked by various signs and symptoms of distress. Trauma is any kind of event in which someone feels out of control. Trauma is often the result of witnessing unexpected violence, but violence is not a requirement of trauma.

PTSD Symptoms

PTSD can include symptoms of paranoia, anxiety, depression, self-harm, hallucinations, flashbacks, alcoholism or drug addiction, and hyperarousal. Hyperarousal is a clinical way of describing hyper vigilance. For survivors of trauma, there is a deeply ingrained need to be on high alert all the time. Sensitive to sights, sounds, and even vibrations, trauma survivors feel as though they need to be prepared for the worst at all times. The worst being a repeat of the trauma they have already endured. Hyperarousal is characterized by being startled easily, often being irritable, and having difficulty embracing change.


According to an article on hyperarousal and PTSD, US News lists that hyperarousal “can make it difficult to concentrate, disrupt sleep and increase the likelihood of angry outbursts.” Hyperarousal is worsened by prolonging diagnosis and treatment. While some medications exist to relieve the symptoms of hyperarousal in PTSD, there is no cure. Citing Dr. Yuval Neria, the article explains, “about 50% of those who develop [and are] diagnosed with PTSD cannot be helped by current therapy or therapy approaches, unfortunately.”

Cognitive behavioral therapy and cognitive processing therapy helps those with PTSD understand how and why they react to certain situations the way they do. CBT offers ways to address the harmful thinking patterns and redirect them tone more positive and productive. Combinations of CBT and proven method EMDR seem to bring relief and function to those suffering from PTSD. “Finding effective treatment is all the more important,” the article explains, “not only given how emotionally and physically draining it into constantly be in ‘fight or flight’ mode, but because aspects of hyperarousal, like angry outbursts, can alienate loved ones.”

Refuge Recovery center warmly opens its doors to those in need of healing for trauma, emotional pain, and any co-occurring alcoholism or addiction issues. We provide detox services in addition to residential inpatient and a spectrum of other levels of care. for more information, please call or text us at 323-207-0276.

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