Post traumatic stress disorder, usually known as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop in reaction to a significant trauma. PTSD is only diagnosed if the symptoms last at least one month and interfere with daily functioning. It is important to know that it is normal to have stress reactions for a short time period after a trauma. It is when an individual is unable to move ahead and function in one’s daily life that intervention may be needed. PTSD is made up of three categories of symptoms: re-experiencing, such as having intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks about the event, avoidance of thoughts or feelings about the event, or reminders of it, and hyperarousal symptoms, such as irritability or hypervigilance. PTSD symptoms can also include depressive symptoms of decreased interest in one’s usual activities, feeling detached from others, or feeling numb.
Over the past 20 years, I have developed a great interest and expertise in working with traumatized individuals. I have led numerous group and individual therapies and conducted research with Holocaust survivors and their families both in New York and Montreal. I have worked with war veterans, rape victims, and victims of automobile and other accidents. I was especially privileged to be a part of the New York City Consortium for the Treatment of Trauma in response to the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. In this capacity, I was one of a select group trained in specialized treatments developed specifically to treat individuals and family members who had been traumatized by 9/11. I have implemented these lessons in my subsequent work with individual clients in my private practice.