Post-traumatic stress disorder, which is commonly referred to as PTSD, is a mental health condition that can occur in an individual who witnesses or experiences one or many traumatic events. This disorder can develop in someone who was directly affected by a traumatic event, or in someone who has seen a traumatic event occur to a loved one. PTSD includes specific symptoms, including horrific nightmares, upsetting memories, and dissociative reactions. This mental health condition also has the power (if left untreated) to alter an individual’s perception, attitude, and mood.
At Belmont Behavioral Hospital, a PTSD treatment center in Philadelphia, our team can provide comprehensive care to those who suffer from PTSD in a way that will alleviate their distressing symptoms. If it becomes obvious that you or someone you love is struggling with the many symptoms that come from this disorder, reaching out for treatment and having it implemented can be the most effective and life-saving effort possible.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
When your loved one is struggling with PTSD, it can be incredibly upsetting to watch. Also, it can be overwhelming and burdensome to you, causing you to constantly go back and forth throughout your emotions, feeling sad one minute then angry the next. You might have tried everything in your power to help your loved one to no avail, and while you might feel defeated and as though there is nothing left for you to do, you could not be further from the truth. There are always many things that you can do to help encourage your loved one to get treatment for his or her PTSD.
For starters, it is important that you fully understand the psychological distress that your loved one is experiencing. You can do this by gathering as much information as possible regarding PTSD. This can include finding out what types of symptoms your loved one struggles with (especially the symptoms that can go unnoticed), the possible causes for his or her trauma, and what types of treatment are available to him or her. Arming yourself with information will not just help you put yourself in your loved one’s shoes, but it can also help you be prepared for every possible step that might be taken as time moves on.
Do not feel like you need to hide your feelings regarding your concern for your loved one. While it can be very difficult to have a calm conversation about your loved one’s PTSD, it is important that you share your concerns in a peaceful manner with your loved one. Offer to help him or her in any way possible, and let him or her know that you are there to support him or her. Make sure that you do more listening than talking so that your loved one can engage in the conversation as well without feeling ambushed or attacked.
It is critical that when dealing with a loved one who has PTSD to develop a strong support system for yourself and for him or her. This can include involving friends, family, loved ones, and professionals into your inner circle so that both you and your loved one can find relief when needed. It is extremely important for you to have a shoulder to lean on during this time, and it is equally important that your loved one feels supported by more individuals than just yourself.
If and when your loved one agrees to obtain treatment, make sure that you are prepared to fulfill his or her request. This means that you should be ready to offer a handful of different treatment options to your loved one, including facilities to attend, specialists to meet with, and so on. By making sure that you are prepared, you can take immediate action when he or she reaches out for help so he or she does not change his or her mind while you try to figure out a plan. Once he or she begins recovery, ensure that you place realistic expectations on your loved one. Never forget that recovering from PTSD is a process, filled with setbacks and successes. Remain supportive and realistic.
Lastly, ensure that you continue to make time for yourself. When a loved one is ill with a mental condition such as PTSD, it can be easy to throw every ounce of your being into helping him or her. Do not forget to take care of yourself, as doing so will help you better support your loved one, as well as keep you happy, healthy, and in the appropriate state of mind.
Why Consider Treatment at Our Center in Philadelphia
When PTSD goes untreated, it can wreak havoc on an individual’s life and wellbeing. An individual’s physical and psychological health can be placed at increased risk as long as PTSD and its symptoms continue on. Ignoring the need for treatment can make it almost impossible for an individual to maintain healthy relationships, achieve academic progress, hold a job, or live a life that is happy and productive. PTSD can cause extreme consequences, such as divorce and separation, unemployment and job loss, social isolation, decreased self-esteem, and a number of other effects that could be devastating to an individual. However, with the appropriate comprehensive treatment that is provided at our hospital, individuals with PTSD can begin to obtain the treatment that can help prevent these consequences from developing.
Types of Treatment Offered at Our Center for PTSD
Our treatment center is a 147-bed psychiatric hospital that provides care for children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients who are struggling with psychiatric issues, substance use, and co-occurring mental health problems. Each year, we care for approximately 3500 individuals in our inpatient treatment center alone.
Founded in 1937 as a 60-bed psychiatric treatment center, we have grown to exceed the dreams of our founders, and we pride ourselves on being established members of our community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our campus is situated on 13 acres of land in a park-like setting that provides a serene environment in which to help individuals overcome mental health difficulties.
Treatment at Belmont Behavioral Health, a hospital for PTSD treatment in Philadelphia, is based on a foundation of individualized care. We recognize that each person who comes to heal with us brings a unique set of strengths, needs, and treatment goals. We are committed to developing care plans that are tailored for each person who struggles with PTSD. At our treatment center, no two treatment plans are the same, and our treatment is so successful that 92% of inpatients are discharged home, instead of to other levels of care, after treatment has ended.
Our treatment center for PTSD offers a wide range of interventions across various levels of care. These interventions include the following:
Medically-monitored detoxification: We recognize that individuals with psychiatric disorders may also struggle with substance abuse issues that can interfere with their ability to manage the symptoms of PTSD. As a result, we provide detoxification services that allow individuals to safely withdraw from substances of abuse under the watchful eye of our physicians and nursing team. While we are unable to provide detox services for individuals using methadone or Suboxone, we are able to maintain individuals who are already taking these medications.
Medication management: Many individuals struggling with mental health disorders, including PTSD, benefit from including medications in their treatment regimen. At our treatment center, every inpatient meets with a member of our medical team for an initial medication evaluation and ongoing daily medication monitoring.
Individual therapy: Patients can make substantial progress in their treatment PTSD for when they have a regular opportunity to process emotions, triumphs, and setbacks within the safety of a one-on-one therapeutic relationship. To support this progress, we provide regular individual therapy and counseling sessions for every individual in our care. Frequency of sessions varies based on the patient’s age, unit, and need, as determined by collaboration between the patient and his or her treatment team. Patients meet with social services providers, case managers, rehab service providers, pastoral counselors, and other trainees and clinicians as recommended by the treatment team. Children and adolescents have daily individual therapy with members of their treatment team.
Group therapy: In addition to individual therapy, groups form the backbone of treatment for PTSD at our hospital. Led by members of our social services/case management, rehab, and nursing teams, groups are offered daily and provide a chance for patients to learn and practice coping skills while supporting and being supported by their peers. Our groups, provided at least twice daily, are focused on recovery and resilience and operate in modalities such as music therapy, leisure, art therapy, peer support, occupational therapy, talk therapy, psychoeducation, and creative expression. Groups cover a wide range of topics, some of which include:
- 12 Steps
- Cognitive-behavioral skills and interventions
- Stages of Change
- Medication education
- Substance abuse
- Trauma focused interventions
- ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy skills
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Managing psychosis/illness management
- Problem-solving and decision-making
- Building strengths and resilience
- Values and goals
- Healthy boundaries
- AM/PM Community Meeting
- Wellness and Recovery Action Planning
- Behavioral activation (ceramics, ice cream social, exercise/yoga, art, music, activities/games, team building/challenge course, etc.)
- AA/NA support groups
- Peer-run groups (motivational speaker series & Face to Face Friday)
In addition to these groups, patients are invited to attend monthly alumni support meetings that give them an opportunity to speak with alumni from our PTSD treatment center and explore methods for achieving long-term success in treatment.
Family therapy: Our more than 80 years of experience treating mental illnesses like PTSD has shown us that one person’s mental illness often affects his or her entire family. In addition, family support can sometimes make the difference between relapse and long-term success. As a result, we emphasize family involvement and therapy throughout a patient’s hospitalization. Our treatment team works with parents, grandparents, and other caregivers in order to develop the most complete treatment solutions that will best enable our patients to thrive after treatment. Our case managers meet with family members, schools, community agencies, and other organizations to develop coordinated discharge plans. On our child and adolescent units, family sessions can also include development and utilization of crisis and safety planning, development and utilization of coping and communications skills, exploration of the family dynamic, and ways to improve interpersonal skills within that dynamic.
Experiential therapy: Individual and group therapy are of enormous benefit, and we have found that our patients also benefit from involving more of their bodies and minds in their recovery process. Experiential therapies use embodiment and sensory experiences to deepen individuals’ engagement in treatment, increase empowerment, and promote a sense of safety. Some of these interventions include:
- Art therapy
- Music therapy
- Role playing
- Guided imagery
Education: For children and adolescents in our care, we recognize the importance of ensuring continuity in their education so that they are not forced to choose between mental health care and academic success. Children and adolescents attend two hours of schooling per day, receiving instruction that is specially tailored around their Individual Education Plans (IEPs). The social worker works closely with the child or adolescent and the Pennsylvania Child and Adolescent Service Program (CASSP) throughout the patient’s length of stay to ensure all services are planned collaboratively with the patient, his or her family, and all agencies involved in the child or adolescent’s life.
Other interventions: As a leading provider of mental health care in Pennsylvania, we are equipped to offer a number of other interventions to those in our care. Some of these include:
- Nutrition consultation:All individuals at our hospital have access to our staff dietician as needed.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT):Individuals who are seeking alternatives to medication, or those for whom medications are not working, can elect to receive ECT for symptoms including depression, psychosis, catatonia, and mania. This form of treatment is quite safe and completely voluntary. Treatment generally involves a series of treatments two or three times a week for six to twelve treatments. In addition, maintenance treatments are often provided on an outpatient basis for the prevention of symptom relapse. Services are provided by certified ECT physicians, one of whom is our hospital’s Medical Director. The ECT physicians oversee ECT-trained nursing staff and an external group of certified registered nurse anesthetists.
- Internal medicine:We provide internal medicine services to all of our patients. Our admissions process includes a physical exam, and consultation with an internal medicine physician is available throughout the course of a hospital stay.
- Motivational speakers:We recognize that it can be superbly helpful to hear from other individuals who have learned to manage mental illness, and we bring in volunteer speakers, many of whom are trained as certified peer specialists and who have lived experience with mental illness and addiction, to offer personal insights into the challenges and successes of the recovery journey.
- Sensory programming (STAR Program):Individuals’ bodies can be powerful allies in the pursuit of improved mental health, so our STAR program (Sensory Tool Awareness and Routines) is used to foster an increased sense of safety, self-awareness, and control over patients’ lives by teaching tools which help to balance and regulate their nervous systems.
- Autism services: Our on-staff behavior specialist is certified in autism studies and provides consultation on behavioral interventions for individuals with autism and families of those individuals.
- Welcoming committee/Active treatment:As a part of our commitment to individually tailored treatment, we recognize that some individuals can benefit from interventions outside of groups, and we have developed resources that further allow patients to take treatment into their own hands. Within this intervention, we give patients a brief assessment and self-help materials to allow them to continue their growth outside of groups. We are also developing materials for individuals whose dominant language is not English.
Because recovery from PTSD is a journey, we recognize that inpatient care is only the beginning for many individuals. As such, our treatment teams, and especially our case workers, work with schools, community agencies, and other organizations to develop coordinated and integrated treatment and aftercare plans. We begin planning for discharge from day one of treatment so that our patients leave our hospital into the welcoming arms of community-based support and external resources, maximizing patients’ ability to continue the progress they made in treatment.
We put forth every effort to ensure that our patients can be successful in their recovery journeys. If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD, please do not hesitate to contact us. Today could be the first day of a brighter future.