PTSD Specialist

Ashraf Abaza, MD -  - Psychiatrist

TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County

Ashraf Abaza, MD

Psychiatrist & Psychopharmacologist located in Long Island, Northport, NY

Most people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with veterans, and it has a significant impact on about 30% of the honored United States veterans. But it also occurs in the general population, affecting nearly 4% of all adults each year. Dr. Ashraf Abaza at TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County has nearly 30 years of experience treating patients with PTSD, offering comprehensive services such as prescription medications, individual therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). To get relief from PTSD, call the office in Suffolk County, New York or book an appointment online.

PTSD Q & A

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a trauma-related disorder that develops after you experience or witness an event that’s traumatic or life-threatening. You don’t have to experience the event directly to develop PTSD. It often occurs after learning about a trauma that happened to a relative or friend, even though you weren’t personally threatened or hurt.

PTSD may arise from a variety of traumatic or stressful situations, such as:

  • Physical assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Gun violence
  • Combat duty
  • Serious accident
  • Death of a loved one
  • Natural or human-made disasters

Many people develop PTSD following disasters, whether they’re natural disasters such as hurricanes or tragic plane crashes.

Dr. Abaza specializes in disaster psychiatry, so he has experience helping people with mental health disorders that occur following disasters. He has worked with families of victims of airline crashes, including the Egypt-Air crash of 1999 off the shores of Long Island and Nantucket.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

The feelings triggered by PTSD are significant, making you feel so anxious or frightened that you can’t follow through with daily activities and responsibilities.

The symptoms caused by PTSD include:

Re-experiencing the event

You may have recurrent nightmares, flashbacks to the traumatic event, or have unwanted and disturbing memories return to your consciousness. When any of these reminders occur, they can cause emotional distress and a physical reaction such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and stomach pain.

Heightened arousal

PTSD triggers behaviors and emotions that are different from the way you were before PTSD. Following the trauma, you may become reckless, aggressive, irritable, or engage in self-destructive behavior. You may also have a hard time concentrating or sleeping.

Avoidance behavior

If you have avoidance behavior, you do what you need to do to avoid any person, place, or situation that reminds you of the event that triggered your PTSD.

Negative thoughts, mood, or feelings

Following trauma, patients with PTSD may experience negative emotions such as persistent anger and loss of interest in activities. You may blame yourself for the event or find that you can’t recall details about the event.

What is the association between PTSD and depression?

About half of all patients diagnosed with PTSD also develop depression. Put another way, people with PTSD have 3-5 times the risk of depression compared to those without PTSD.

Depression can easily develop due to the emotional impact of stressful events and trauma. You may become isolated and lethargic due to PTSD. Many patients have difficulty coping with the painful experience, injury, or loss of a loved one that caused their PTSD.

Memories and feelings of guilt that you survived when someone else didn’t commonly cause depression. In short, all the experiences that cause PTSD also frequently cause depression, so the two occur together.

Dr. Abaza carefully evaluates each PTSD patient for co-occurring problems, such as depression, then works with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses all of your symptoms and conditions.

How is PTSD treated?

Dr. Abaza implements various treatments for PTSD, creating a customized plan to help with your symptoms. He may prescribe antidepressants or antianxiety medications, together with ongoing medication management.

As a specialist in complex psychopharmacology, Dr. Abaza has the expertise to treat multiple co-occurring disorders with diverse symptoms, such as PTSD and depression.

The doctor also provides individual psychotherapy and lifestyle evaluation and optimization to help you restructure your life and regain optimal health. Dr. Abaza may recommend one of several trauma-focused psychotherapies, helping you process your experience and cope with negative feelings.

Does TMS help treat PTSD?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an advanced treatment that effectively relieves symptoms caused by PTSD and depression. It uses repeated magnetic pulses to change the activity of nerve cells or neurons in precisely targeted areas of your brain.

For example, TMS can help diminish depression or shift the way PTSD patients process emotions.

At TMS Medical Therapy of Suffolk County, you can receive medication, psychotherapy, and TMS to alleviate symptoms of PTSD and depression, so call or use online booking to schedule an appointment.