How Is PTSD Diagnosed?

Nov 02, 2023
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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health issue that can affect you physically and emotionally. Early diagnosis is important for relieving those symptoms as soon as possible. Here’s how a diagnosis is made.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects millions of Americans, causing serious symptoms that can take a toll on your everyday activities, your physical and mental health, and your quality of life. Fortunately, treatment can help — but sometimes, traditional options, like medication and psychotherapy, may not provide the results you’re looking for. 

At Revival Infusion Madison in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP, helps patients manage PTSD and break its devastating cycle with ketamine infusion therapy, an innovative approach ideal for many patients who don’t respond to medication and psychotherapy. Here, learn how PTSD is diagnosed and how ketamine can help.

PTSD diagnosis

Diagnosing PTSD typically begins with a physical exam to rule out possible medical problems that could be causing your symptoms. Then, you’ll have an in-depth psychological evaluation and review of your symptoms.

Your doctor uses criteria set forth by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, you must have been exposed to a traumatic event, either directly or indirectly, and experience one or more of these symptoms as a result:

  • Recurrent, intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event
  • Bad dreams about the event
  • Flashbacks
  • Significant distress when exposed to triggers reminiscent of the event
  • Avoidance of memories, people, or events that cause traumatic memories
  • Memory loss regarding the traumatic event
  • Negative beliefs about oneself or others
  • Intense stress, anxiety, fear, guilt, or shame
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Inability to feel or express positive emotions
  • Increased irritability, moodiness, or angry outbursts
  • Self-destructive or reckless behavior
  • Hypervigilance — that is, always being in a state of alertness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep problems

Symptoms must be present for more than a month, and they must be severe enough to interfere with your work, social activities, relationships, or other important functions in order for you to be diagnosed with PTSD.

PTSD can develop immediately or shortly after a traumatic event, or symptoms may not appear for months or even years afterward. You can develop PTSD from a personal experience, from witnessing a traumatic event, or from hearing about another person’s experience. 

Ketamine for PTSD

Traditionally used as an anesthetic, ketamine has gained significant attention in the medical community for its use in treating many types of mental health issues that don’t respond to traditional treatments, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

Ketamine optimizes how your brain produces and uses glutamate, an important chemical messenger that regulates mood and plays a role in depression and anxiety. It also supports an increase in neuroplasticity, the way your brain changes and adapts to help regulate mood and ward off depression and anxiety (both of these being key symptoms of PTSD).

Ketamine infusions are administered intravenously in our office, with every dose tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Most patients experience symptom relief soon after treatment, and ongoing maintenance treatments can help those effects last indefinitely.

Find help for your PTSD symptoms

PTSD can take a devastating toll on the people who suffer from it and their loved ones, too. To learn how ketamine can play a role in treating your PTSD, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison today.