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Anxiety is defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), though previously classified as an anxiety disorder, has now been recategorized under trauma- and stressor- related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Still, anxiety is inextricably linked to PTSD, as it remains a pervasive experience for those who have been diagnosed with this disorder.

PTSD is a mental health condition that is characterized by “intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks of past traumatic events, avoidance of reminders of trauma, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbance, all of which lead to considerable social, occupational, and interpersonal dysfunction.” PTSD may develop when an individual has experienced severe stress or anxiety after being exposed to a traumatic event. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describes trauma as “an event, or series of events, that causes moderate to severe stress reactions…[that are] characterized by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.” Anxiety can manifest in connection with PTSD in multiple ways. Some of the potential pathways to anxiety for PTSD sufferers include the following examples:

  • Trauma triggers: Individuals may experience heightened anxiety when exposed to certain triggers such as sensory stimuli (e.g., sights, sounds, smells, etc.), situations, specific dates, etc. associated with the traumatic event. 
  • Intrusive thoughts: The recurrence of intrusive thoughts, memories, and/ or flashbacks related to the traumatic event can generate significant anxiety. Further, people with PTSD may struggle to control these distressing thoughts, leading to increased anxiety and emotional distress.
  • Sleep disturbances: A large body of research has “documented the significant association between self-reported sleep disturbances and PTSD with estimates of up to 80–90% of patients with PTSD experiencing insomnia symptoms and 50–70% experiencing nightmares.” Sleep problems can exacerbate anxiety, as the lack of restorative sleep can lead to increased emotional reactivity and irritability.

Anxiety and PTSD differ in that anxiety is often triggered by beliefs about an uncertain future, whereas PTSD is caused by a traumatic past event. Additionally, anxiety is a general sense of unease or worry, while the symptoms of PTSD are specifically tied to the experience of trauma. Nevertheless, the presence of anxiety in PTSD underscores the importance of addressing the emotional and psychological impact of trauma and highlights the need for specialized treatments that target both the traumatic stress and the associated anxiety symptoms.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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