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  • If I am aware of the traumatic event, why do I still have recurring nightmares and severe sleep problems?
  • Won’t uncovering frightening memories just make me feel worse?
  • Will I ever feel safe again?

What the experts say: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the development of characteristic symptoms that occur following exposure to an extreme traumatic event. This may involve a personal experience with actual or threatened death, or serious injury, threat to one’s physical integrity or to the physical integrity of another person. It can also occur by witnessing or learning about an unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury to a family member or other close person.

The person’s response may involve intense fear, helplessness or horror. In children, the response involves disorganized or agitated behavior. Commonly the sufferer has recurrent and intrusive recollections of the event, or recurrent distressing dreams during which the event is replayed.


PTSD can be a very frightening experience. The emotional impact can feel as devastating as the actual original event. People often decide to enter therapy because they are having very distressing symptoms that may include recurring nightmares, fearful avoidance, being easily startled, always “on-guard,” and/or severe anxiety or memory loss. These problems can be caused by a trauma that may have just occurred or could have happened at some time in your past. You may not even be aware of the traumatic incident(s) that are responsible for your symptoms. Then again, you may seek treatment knowing the exact event that preceded these emotional problems.

Therapy can help people recognize the cause(s) of their symptoms and learn to come to terms with the event, which will eliminate or reduce the symptoms. If it isn’t treated, PTSD can cause serious problems in personal and work relationships, and with your physical and mental health.

Additionally, almost one-third of all rape victims develop PTSD sometime during their life, and more than one in ten still has PTSD today. At Birmingham Maple Clinic we use a variety of specialized techniques to treat PTSD, and to help people resume less stressful, more peaceful lives.

For more information visit the Mental Health America.

Birmingham Maple Clinic | Michigan Mental Health