Mental HealthPerson with PTSD seeking treatment like therapy and TMS

PTSD stands for post traumatic stress disorder. It’s a serious mental health disorder that causes a person to struggle with their daily life due to the negative effects of a traumatic event or string of events. PTSD first began to be widely noticed in the public consciousness as soldiers were returning from WWI in the early part of the twentieth century– the condition was referred to as shell shock at the time. Since then, a greater understanding of the disorder has been gained, and with modern treatments, PTSD is manageable and people who suffer from it can live full and healthy lives. Keep reading below to learn more about where PTSD comes from, signs that you or someone you love has it, and ways that the condition is treated.

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD can be caused by any traumatic event that an individual undergoes. Because the disorder is common among soldiers who have seen combat, there’s a persistent misconception that it can only happen to people who’ve been exposed to active war zones or an equivalent experience, but this isn’t the case. Anyone can get PTSD from a wide range of traumatic events. Car accidents are a common cause, as is sexual or physical assault, a severe injury or traumatic birth experience, a serious medical diagnosis, or witnessing violence or death.


It’s also now understood that PTSD isn’t solely caused by major traumatic events. A string of traumatic events over time can also lead to a person developing the disorder, such as abuse or neglect. 


Not everyone who goes through something traumatic will develop PTSD. Having a strong support system, good mental health beforehand, and a bank of positive coping strategies to rely on make it far less likely that someone will wind up with PTSD after a trauma. 

What are Common Signs of PTSD?

The symptoms of PTSD can be difficult to manage day-to-day, and they can often resemble other mental health disorders, making the condition tricky to recognize. One of the main signs of PTSD are “flashbacks” or memories of the traumatic event or events that the person doesn’t want to experience that can make them feel like they’re reliving the trauma. Intrusive thoughts, or thoughts that a person doesn’t want to have or try to have that seem to come from outside them, are also common with this disorder. 


People with PTSD are often easily startled, and may be easily upset by triggers, or things that remind them of their trauma. They may struggle with low moods, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame. Panic attacks, nightmares, and substance abuse or other self-destructive behaviors like self-harm are often seen in PTSD sufferers. They might struggle with eating, sleeping, and concentrating, and in severe cases, may deal with suicidal thoughts.

What are Common Treatments of PTSD?

PTSD can make life incredibly difficult, but modern treatments have come a long way in making it possible to manage the disorder and enjoy life in spite of it. Here are some common treatments of PTSD.


Therapy can be incredibly effective in helping people with PTSD process their feelings around the traumatic event or events they went through and build effective coping strategies. There are several different kinds of therapy that have been shown to be effective in treating PTSD, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). 


There are several medications that are commonly used to help treat the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants and antianxiety medications like Zoloft or Paxil are frequently used, and the drug prazosin can be helpful in reducing nightmares in some cases.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a painless and noninvasive procedure that involves using magnetic fields to stimulate parts of the brain that are associated with certain mental health disorders like PTSD. This alternative treatment is often helpful for people who haven’t seen the results they want from other forms of treatment, and can help them see noticeable improvements with minimal side effects.


If you or someone you love is struggling with PTSD and has found that traditional treatments aren’t working well for them, TMS might be able to help. The TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, PA is ready to discuss treatment options with you, so contact us today to get started!