Greenville, S.C. (WSPA)– According to the National Center for PTSD, about 3 in every 50 Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives.

As part of our “Ask the Expert”, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, 7NEWS Anchor Taylor Murray spoke with a psychiatrist about trauma-focused therapy and treatments that can help relieve symptoms.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

Dr. Carson Felkel, a psychiatrist, says anyone can develop PTSD at any age.

“The trauma can really affect the brain and everyone’s a little bit different.”

Dr. Carson Felkel, Psychiatrist, Bon Secours St. Francis

This includes war veterans, children, and people who have been through abuse,  an assault,  or any other traumatic event.

“In general people develop a negative mood, maybe irritability or being more withdrawn, and then there’s also a lot of sleep disturbances. People develop nightmares and then, during the day, they may have flashbacks or hyper-vigilance,” Dr. Felkel said.

Therapy is the mainstay of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We used to think that PTSD was more of a stressor or an anxiety disorder. It is a trauma based disorder, so you need to have trauma informed therapies to treat it. There’s specific types of psychotherapy that treat it well.”

Dr. Carson Felkel, Psychiatrist, Bon Secours St. Francis

Dr. Felkel says the type of therapy given to someone struggling with PTSD is important in order to effectively control symptoms

“Those types of therapies would be cognitive processing therapy, EMDR, or prolonged exposure therapy,” Dr. Felkel said.

Medications can also be prescribed to treat PTSD.

“We have really good medicines to treat PTSD, but given that it’s a trauma-based injury, you do need specific medicines, sometimes, these are the same medicines that treat depression and anxiety,” Dr. Felkel said.

Dr. Felkel says the goal is to get the patient into remission so they can live a happy and healthy life.

“In order to cope and process memories, you must receive treatment. It is super important to talk to someone about your PTSD symptoms. Please talk to your primary care provider, a therapist, psychiatrist, or a friend about the trauma you’ve experienced,” Dr. Felkel said.

Dr. Felkel says avoiding post-traumatic stress disorder can often lead to alcohol and/or substance abuse.

Click the following links for resources:

More information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Resources for anyone struggling with PTSD.

Help for Veterans struggling with PTSD.