PTSD vs PTSI treatment with a licensed psychologist in Orange County, CA


Most people usually confuse post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI). However, PTSD is a mental health condition caused by experiencing a traumatic situation, while PTSI is an injury that results from experiencing traumatic events. These two may present similar symptoms and be treated using the same method, but they have different aspects you should know about.

Continue reading to learn more about PTSD vs. PTSI, including their similarities, differences, treatment, and more. 

What is Trauma? 

The American Psychological Association (APA) describes trauma as an emotional response to a traumatic event or experience. People who go through these events experience shock and denial immediately and end up with unpredictable flashbacks, emotions, strained relationships, and several physical symptoms such as nausea and headaches. 

The long-term effects of trauma may affect a person’s well-being and develop into post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD). 

What is PTSI? 

PTSI refers to biological injury presenting similar symptoms as PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, the difference between these two is the cause of these symptoms. PTSI comes from damage to a part of the nervous system, which plays a significant role in developing and maintaining PTSI. 

What is PTSD? 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition that develops from experiencing a terrifying event. Some of the terrifying events that may cause PTSD are as follows: 

  • Car accidents 
  • Natural disasters 
  • Witnessing terrorism 
  • Incarceration 

Please note that PTSD is not limited to people who experience these events first-hand. They may also affect people close to those affected by these events, such as family members and close friends. 

Similarities between PTSD vs PTSI 

Essentially, PTSI and PTSD refer to conditions with the same symptoms. Therefore, you will expect people suffering from these conditions to showcase the following range of psychological symptoms:

Avoidance Behavior 

A person suffering from PTSI and PTSD will portray the following avoidance behaviors: 

  • Avoiding people talking or thinking about a traumatic event 
  • Avoiding activities or places that remind them of traumatic events. 

Intrusive Memories 

People with PTSI or PTSD will portray the following symptoms of intrusive memories: 

  • Relieving the traumatic event, they went through again through flashbacks 
  • Experiencing upsetting nightmares or dreams about the traumatic event they went through 
  • Severe physical reaction or emotional distress to things that reminds them of the traumatic events 
  • Experiencing recurrent, unwanted memories of the traumatic event. 

Negative Changes in Mood and Thinking 

You may experience the following negative changes in mood and thinking if you’re suffering from PTSI or PTSD: 

  • Hopelessness about your future 
  • Negative thoughts about yourself, people, and the world 
  • Difficulty creating and maintaining close relationships 
  • Lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed 
  • Being emotionally numb 
  • Memory problems excluding remembering essential aspects of the traumatic event 
  • Feeling and staying emotionally dumb 
  • Inability to experience positive emotions 

Change in Reaction to Physical and Emotional Situations  

Some of the symptoms that indicate a change in reaction to physical and emotional situations for a person with PTSI or PTSD are as follows: 

  • Being easily frightened or startled 
  • Always staying on guard for danger 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • An overwhelming feeling of shame or guilt 
  • Self-destruction behaviors like overspeeding and drinking too much 
  • Overwhelming shame or guilt 

Differences between PTSD vs PTSI

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder, while PTSI is a physical injury, according to the Global PTSI Foundation. This bodily injury results from witnessing or experiencing terrifying events that affect part of the nervous system. 

PTSI usually causes overstimulation, promoting anxiety, inability to self-calm, restlessness, and hyperactivity. These symptoms may appear similar to PTSD but are not considered diagnosable disorders. 

Treatment for PTSI & PTSD

There are several treatment options for PTSI and PTSD available. These treatment options are as follows: 


Therapy is the most common treatment method for PTSI and PTSD. It may take different forms, including: 

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) 

This treatment focuses on helping individuals understand and process their thoughts and emotions that result from the trauma. It aims at helping the individual learn new ways to think about their traumatic event. This will eventually help the individual reduce their emotional reactions. 

Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) 

This therapeutic approach involves gradual exposure of an individual suffering from PTSD or PTSI to memories or situations related to their trauma. It helps them process these memories more adaptively and cope with situations that remind them of the traumatic event that they went through. 

Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) 

This treatment method focuses on developing coping skills for situations that trigger memories of traumatic events. It may involve learning relaxation techniques, including reframing negative thoughts and managing their triggers. 

Trauma-Informed Care 

This is a PTSI or PTSD treatment method that focuses on the trauma’s impact on a person and provides a supportive environment to help the affected person heal. It focuses on the individual’s experiences and needs and seeks to empower them through recovery. 

This approach may incorporate treatments like medication, community support, and talk therapy. 


Doctors may prescribe antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, or antidepressants to treat PTSI or PTSD based on symptoms portrayed by an individual. Antidepressants are used to improve sleep and mood, while anti-anxiety medications are prescribed to reduce symptoms of agitation and anxiety. Antipsychotics treat more severe cases of PTSI or PTSD where the affected individual is at risk of developing psychotic symptoms. 

Crisis Stabilization for PTSI and PTSD

There are three phases in PTSI and PTSD treatment; stabilization, trauma work, and integration.

In the first phase, a doctor should consider the following factors: 

  • Provide 24/7 monitoring and care 
  • Get an overview of your problems. 
  • Connect with the patient to work together effectively 
  • Conduct a medical examination; it’s crucial to have a brain scan to ensure that the symptoms do not result from physical problems. 
  • Put together a network of helpers. 
  • Learn how to identify their emotions 
  • Learn how to deal with their flashbacks 
  • Improve sleep 

PTSI and PTSD Treatment in Orange County, CA 

People suffering from PTSI or PTSD should seek immediate treatment to manage and treat symptoms associated with their condition. SoCal Mental Health is a certified mental health facility serving people in Orange County, CA, and its surrounding. We specialize in crisis stabilization for individuals who are struggling with mental health disorders.

SoCal Mental Health in Orange County, CA, offers compassionate care that reflects our core values; dignity, integrity, acceptance, patience, and respect. Our staff is also ready to support our clients with additional support to provide a smooth transition from inpatient to outpatient treatment. We specialize in treating mental and behavioral health disorders.

Call Now Button