PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop following a traumatic event (i.e., exposure to a threat to the physical safety of self or others–either experiencing the threat directly or witnessing the threat to another). The traumatic event is experienced with a sense of intense fear, horror, or helplessness. In children, the reaction involves disorganized or agitated behavior. Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • re-experiencing the trauma (i.e., flashbacks, nightmares, recurrent intrusive thoughts)
  • hyperarousal (i.e., feeling jumpy or easily startled, difficulty sleeping and restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and hypervigilance or feeling on guard all the time)
  • avoidance (i.e., avoiding places, people, events, or objects that remind a person of his or her trauma, emotional numbness, loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities, difficulty remembering important aspects of the trauma, feeling cut-off from people)

Many individuals experience a few of the symptoms described above following a trauma. However, a person develops PTSD when these symptoms last more than one month and become life-interfering. In some cases, it can be months or years following a trauma before symptoms emerge.

PTSD symptoms can arise in people of all ages who have experienced a traumatic event; however, symptoms may appear differently in children compared to adults. Younger children may develop the following symptoms: repetitively acting out the event during play, separation anxiety, decrease in speech, bedwetting, and/or stomachaches and headaches. Symptoms in teenagers are more likely to resemble those of adults but may also include disruptive and destructive behaviors. In addition to the symptoms described above, those with PTSD often have emotional reactions such as anger, guilt and shame as well as disruption in sleep, diet, and exercise habits.

Before seeing Taylor, I was struggling with OCD behavior, compulsive exercise, and learning how to cope with my past in a healthy way. He was very patient, understanding, and non-judgmental, which allowed me to uncover problems that were essentially being pushed aside. I used to get uncomfortable and self-conscious about discussing certain things that happened when I was younger, but the environment that he creates is very welcoming and I felt at ease when memories came to mind. He also asked me…
Anon, Edgebrook, Chicago