Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) need support and care that’s sensitive to their initial core trauma. That means for patients with PTSD, all treatment plans at Relief Mental Health are trauma-informed. During treatment, our primary goal is to create an environment in which you feel safe and secure. That’s a prerequisite: we establish trust, which is the foundation of the therapeutic relationship and healing process.

We understand the symptoms of PTSD can prevent an individual from full participation in daily activities and/or responsibilities, including those related to work, family, and school. In some cases, the symptoms of PTSD or complex PTSD prevent patients from forming the type of stable relationships they need to heal and grow.

The benefits of treatment for PTSD at Relief Mental Health include:

  • Trauma-informed assessment, intake, and communication at all phases of treatment
  • Innovative approaches to the treatment of PTSD such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), SPRAVATO®, and IV ketamine infusions
  • Medication management directed by licensed providers experienced in trauma-informed care
  • Trauma-informed therapy and support with a team of compassionate therapists and counselors

Treatment plans at Relief Mental Health combine the best of traditional approaches to PTSD treatment such as psychiatry, therapy, and medication with new therapies like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), SPRAVATO®, and IV ketamine infusions. Our range of available treatments delivered in a caring atmosphere give patients with PTSD the best chance at meeting their treatment goals and living a life free from the debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

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What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Volume 5 (DSM-V), the gold standard reference tool for mental health providers, defines PTSD as:

“A trauma and stress-related disorder that may appear after a traumatic event at any point in a person’s life.” 

Initially known as shell shock or combat fatigue, PTSD was originally identified as a mental health condition in soldiers returning from combat in World War I and World War II. Since then, mental health professionals have identified other traumatic events which, in addition to experience combat, can lead to PTSD:

  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Non-sexual assault
  • Serious accident or injury
  • Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Childhood emotional or physical neglect
  • Natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes
  • Severe injury or death of another person

Exposure to those experiences does not mean an individual will develop PTSD. However, data shows that around 20 percent of people who do experience those or similar traumatic events go on to develop PTSD or experience significant PTSD symptoms.  

Symptoms of PTSD

To meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD, an individual must experience specific, persistent symptoms every day for 30 days or more. Mental health experts place PTSD symptoms into four distinct categories:

Intrusive thoughts/re-experiencing memories. Also known as flashbacks, patients with PTSD experience uncomfortable and unwanted thoughts and memories. These often include:

  • Memories of the initial traumatic event
  • Re-experiencing the event as if no time has passed
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia

Avoidance behavior. This occurs when a patient with PTSD spends significant time and energy avoiding anything that reminds them of their initial trauma or traumatic experiences. Avoidance behavior may include:

  • Attempting to never think or talk about the event
  • Pretending the traumatic event/events never happened
  • Refusing to go to places the remind them of the experience/experiences
  • Refusing to interact with people associated with or that remind them of the traumatic experience/experiences
  • Abruptly leaving an event or situation that reminds them of the traumatic experience/experiences

Negative changes in thoughts and mood. A patient with PTSD may develop negative patterns of thought and emotion related to the trauma and their present life circumstances. These PTSD-related patterns often include:

  • Depressive thoughts
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Negative self-concept
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Self-medication with alcohol or substances

Negative changes in physical and emotional reactions to events. Also known as hyperarousal, patients with PTSD often develop extreme physical and emotional reactions to events or circumstances in their environment. These PTSD-related reactions may include:

  • Getting scared or startled with little provocation
  • Feeling constantly on guard or on the lookout for danger
  • Risky behavior, including substance use, sexual activity, or fighting in response to stress
  • Excessive anger
  • Extreme feelings of shame/embarrassment

The presence of PTSD increases the risk an individual may develop depression or an alcohol or substance use disorder. These diagnoses can exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD and have a negative impact on long-term outcomes. That’s why it’s important for an individual with PTSD to seek professional support as soon as possible.

Consequences of Untreated PTSD

The consequences of untreated PTSD may be physical, psychological, emotional, or all three. Negative consequences may include:

  • Depression
  • Anger/aggression
  • Problems managing anger/aggression
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Alcohol and substance use and misuse
  • Disrupted relationships
  • Inability to work or pursue academic or vocational training
  • Risky behavior
  • Increased risk of physical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac (heart) disease

Those consequences can create serious problems for patients with PTSD. The condition can appear in many ways. In some cases, symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event. In others, symptoms may appear weeks, months, or even years later. In all cases, professional treatment and support are crucial, and can help a person with PTSD regain control of their lives.

Trauma-Informed Care for Patients With PTSD

Experts agree that effective treatment for PTSD must be trauma-informed. The most well-respected treatment facilities embrace the guidelines created by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for best practices in trauma-informed care.

In a trauma-informed setting, providers must:

  1. Understand the significant consequences of trauma and have experience adapting treatment to meet the needs of patients with a history of trauma
  2. Identify the specific symptoms of trauma.
  3. Work to resist re-traumatization during the treatment process.

Once those foundational requirements are met, SAMHA advises trauma-informed treatment programs to prioritize the following six components of trauma-informed care:

  1. Safety. Patients with a history of trauma need to feel safe from re-traumatization.
  2. Trust. This is the core of a productive therapeutic relationship. Providers must work to establish trust, first and foremost.
  3. Peer Support. People with a history of trauma benefit from positive relationships with other trauma survivors
  4. Collaboration. Each treatment plan for survivor of trauma should include the direct input of the patient
  5. Empowerment. Treatment providers should recognize the strength and resiliency it takes to seek treatment for trauma, and recognize the ability of trauma survivors to heal and thrive
  6. Cultural Competence. Treatment providers should recognize the role that historic and institutional trauma play in the lives of trauma survivors, and work to move past any stereotypes or stigma based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, cultural heritage, or religion.

At Relief Mental Health, all treatment for patients with a history of trauma is modified to meet the best practices for trauma-informed care.

Evidence-Based, Trauma-Informed Treatment for PTSD

Upon intake, we perform comprehensive assessments in order to learn as much as we can about each patient, including history of trauma, medical history, and their specific treatment goals. After an initial assessment and intake interview, we create personalized plans that may include a combination of the following treatments.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is designed to treat a variety of common mental health conditions safely and effectively. TMS works by emitting gentle magnetic pulses to the area of the brain that regulates mood. These pulses activate specific areas of the brain and decrease symptoms of depression. Patients will sit comfortably in a chair during their 20-minute session and can drive themselves home after treatment.

TMS does not require anesthesia, hospitalization, and has no systemic side effects.

BrainsWay Technology

Relief Mental Helaht uses BrainsWay technology which has been demonstrated to have exceptional efficacy due to its broad and deep prefrontal stimulation. Unlike medication, the benefits of TMS are durable. This means that patients experience lasting remission of symptoms long after treatment has been completed. Even in cases where medications have not proven effective, TMS can help our patients overcome their symptoms.

TMS does not require…

anesthesia, hospitalization, and has no systemic side effects. During the 20-minute treatment session, patients sit in a comfortable chair and engage with our staff. This extra engagement during treatment helps improve the efficacy of treatment and yield better results compared to other TMS clinics. Patients are awake and alert throughout treatment but typically don’t experience any pain.


SPRAVATO® is a prescription medicine used to treat:

  • Adults with treatment-resistant depression (TRD)
  • Depressive symptoms in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Other mental health diagnoses, including PTSD

SPRAVATO® (esketamine) is the first and only NMDA receptor antagonist approved for adults. It’s administered under medical supervision in one of our carefully designed therapeutic rooms. Your physical and mental health are expertly monitored during care.

SPRAVATO® demonstrates consistent safety across indications and can only be administered in a certified healthcare setting. Relief Psychedelics is an REMS-certified provider of SPRAVATO® for people with treatment-resistant depression.

SPRAVATO® is fast acting and effective.

While some treatments take weeks or months to yield results, patients often feel the positive benefits of SPRAVATO® within hours. For patients with severe symptoms, this fast-acting treatment can propel patients into remission quickly.

IV Ketamine Infusions

Evidence shows that intravenous (IV) infusions with ketamine have positive therapeutic effects.

Research on ketamine shows the following:

  • Ketamine can reduce PTSD symptoms quickly
  • Symptom reduction with ketamine is durable, and can last long after treatment

When a patient chooses IV ketamine treatment, the first step is either a virtual or in-person consultation to determine whether IV ketamine is an appropriate candidate for their diagnosis. New patients to Relief Mental Health can expect their initial consultation to last about an hour, while current Relief Mental Health patients using IV ketamine as a new treatment modality can expect their initial consultation to last about half an hour. After an initial consultation and if the patient is deemed clinically appropriate, an appointment is scheduled for the patient to return at his or her earliest convenience.

Psychiatry & Medication Management

From initial evaluation to medication management to psychotherapy referrals, our psychiatric team puts you on the right path to optimal mental health. On your first visit, we will review symptoms, personal history, treatment options, and life goals to create a plan that keeps you moving forward. At returning visits, we monitor progress as well as respond to any new treatment modalities. We’re here to help you achieve your goals every step of the way.

We see patients with established diagnoses that need continued psychiatric care as well as patients seeking a diagnosis for the first time. Psychiatric medication is not the right fit for everyone but many find success by adding medication to their plan of care. Because many psychiatric medications are long term, having a provider that specializes in this type of prescribing is crucial.

Our team of Psychiatrists, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Associates have unique treatment experience. Finding the right provider can be the catalyst to great results. For more information about an individual provider call our intake line and we will match you with the right fit. 

Relief Mental Health offers both in office and telehealth visits to be able to provide flexibility that fits into your life. Our team will develop a treatment plan tailored to your diagnosis and needs.


Discover the tremendous things you’re capable of achieving and create a more fulfilling life with the help of a Relief therapist. Our staff consists of therapists with varied expertise that we carefully match with patients to help them become the best version of themselves. We will do a short intake and match you with the most appropriate therapist based on your goals, geography, availability, and diagnosis.

Therapy is beneficial for a variety of challenging diagnoses including but not limited to depression, anxiety, mood instability, sexuality issues, trauma, self-injury, eating disorders, coping with loss, stress management, and more. Depending on your diagnosis, we use a variety of evidence-based modalities such as CBT, DBT, ERP, ACT.

We offer both telehealth and in-person appointments. Schedules, geography, and provider will help determine how we see you.

Prevalence of PTSD

Among adults diagnosed with PTSD:

  • 36.6% reported serious impairment
  • 33.1% reported moderate impairment
  • 30.2% reported mild impairment

The data are clear: millions of people in the U.S. have PTSD and experience the negative impacts of PTSD every day, which means they need professional help and support. When PTSD goes untreated, the condition rarely resolves by itself. In most cases, it gets worse.

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For questions or to book an appointment, give us a call or complete our confidential form. A member of our team will reach out within 24 hours.

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