Many people have heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, but “PTSI” is becoming more popular when discussing trauma patients. Both PTSD and PTSI have the same symptoms, but there are key differences to understand.
The stigma of PTSD and PTSI can prevent some people from seeking the help they need. However, seeking treatment for mental and behavioral health is nothing to be ashamed of. If a person is struggling with the symptoms of PTSD or PTSI, it is essential they receive the appropriate treatment.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that sometimes occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. These events may include a natural disaster, a severe accident, a terrorist act, war, rape, or those who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or a severe injury.
It’s important to note that PTSD has gone by many names throughout the years. For instance, the term was referred to as “shell shock” during World War I and was known as “combat fatigue” in World War II.
While PTSD is commonly associated with combat veterans, this disorder can affect anyone at any age. It’s common for people with PTSD to avoid situations and people that can trigger a response. A diagnosis of PTSD requires a person to be exposed to a traumatic event. However, it’s possible that exposure to a traumatic event can be indirect.
Symptoms of PTSD
An individual diagnosed with PTSD may be experiencing symptoms such as:
- An intrusion of thoughts: Someone with PTSD may experience repeated, involuntary memories, distressing dreams, or flashbacks of their traumatic event.
- Avoidance: The person may avoid certain people, activities, places, or objects that remind them of the traumatic event they experienced.
- Altered thinking and mood: Some people with PTSD have difficulties remembering essential aspects of a traumatic event, negative thoughts, and feelings. This leads to a distorted belief not only about themselves but others. Additionally, there may be a distorted belief surrounding the cause of the event leading to self-blame or the blaming of others. A person may also feel less connected to activities previously enjoyed and feel detached and estranged from others.
- Altered arousal and reactivity: Arousal and reactive symptoms may include outbursts, irritation, reckless behavior, suspicion, concentration issues, and more.
What is PTSI?
PTSI, also known as a post-traumatic stress injury, is viewed as a biological injury. People develop PTSI as a result of severe damage to the brain. It is believed that there is a division in the nervous system that likely plays a crucial role in someone developing PTSI. When someone has experienced a post-traumatic stress injury, physical changes in the nervous system occur, according to research.
Unfortunately, there is not much information regarding who is affected by PTSI. However, those with PTSI exhibit the same set of symptoms as someone with PTSD.
PTSI vs. PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder is considered a psychiatric disorder listed in the DSM-5, while PTSI is considered a biological injury that has not yet been listed. However, a person diagnosed with PTSD or PTSI will have the same symptoms. While PTSI and PTSD are sometimes used interchangeably, the key difference is the idea behind what has caused the symptoms.
It’s important to note that there have been arguments surrounding renaming PTSD to PTSI. The word “disorder” has created a stigma, which has prevented some people with PTSD from getting the help they need.
These disorders should not be treated as a stigma but rather a challenge that people can recover from. Many people who seek treatment for PTSD or PTSI can move forward living a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Treatment for PTSD and PTSI
Several available treatments are recommended for both PTSD and PTSI patients. While each treatment will have its level of effectiveness, psychotherapy is generally recommended to treat patients diagnosed with either PTSD or PTSI.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy or talk therapy. CBT ultimately helps individuals learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that influence behavior and emotions.
CBT helps individuals recognize the ways of thinking that are keeping a person stuck. For instance, a person may have negative beliefs or believe that a traumatic event will happen again. For individuals living with PTSD and PTSI, exposure therapy is often used alongside cognitive therapy.
Exposure therapy provides a safe way to face situations and memories that may feel frightening or traumatic to the individual. With exposure therapy, it’s common for programs like virtual reality to be used to help patients re-enter the scene where they experienced trauma.
This allows someone with PTSD or PTSI to learn how to cope with situations or memories more effectively. Exposure therapy is particularly useful for those who are experiencing flashbacks and nightmares.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another therapy that combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements. This enables the individual to process traumatic memories and alter how the person reacts to them.
Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)
Stress inoculation training (SIT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy performed in an individual or group setting. With Stress Inoculation training, it’s unnecessary to go into detail about the traumatic event. Instead, training focuses on changing how stress is being dealt with from what has happened.
Both those diagnosed with PTSD and PTSI process threats differently. This has a lot to do with the fact that the neurotransmitters in the body are not balanced. As a result, individuals easily trigger their fight or flight response. Medications are sometimes implemented to help a person with PTSD or PTSI stop thinking about the event and reacting to it.
Get Help with Trauma in Orange County, CA
Living with PTSD or PTSI can reduce a person’s quality of life. Having a traumatic experience can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. If you or your loved one has lived through a traumatic event, getting treatment is essential.
At Enhance Health Group, our clinical team is passionate about helping those who have experienced trauma get the support they need to live an enhanced, balanced, and healthy life. Our mental health professionals are well-versed in treating PTSD and PTSI. We provide individualized treatment plans for various mental health conditions, such as those living with trauma.