There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to PTSD, and it most likely will not be resolved in a short amount of time. Furthermore, if there are comorbidities involved, it will take longer for the therapist to determine what diagnosis and treatment are appropriate. The type of treatment you or your loved one receives is up to your therapist, but below are some common forms of treatment.
Cognitive Processing Therapy
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a specific type of therapy used to help people change the way they view trauma. It has been effective in helping reduce symptoms of PTSD, and many mental health specialists recommend this course of action. It’s thought to be one of the most effective treatments available. Trauma changes the way a person feels about themselves and the world, often causing them to develop an overly negative and hopeless view of things. This type of therapy can help them begin to reprocess the way they think about things.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Since avoidance is a symptom of PTSD, therapists will sometimes use a treatment called Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE). This treatment helps people confront the things they’re avoiding in increments. This type of therapy will induce more anxiety and stress than CPT typically does, so therapists will try to equip their patients with anxiety-reducing coping skills.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
EDMR is a different kind of treatment than talking through traumatic events. Instead, the patient is asked to think about the traumatic event while the therapist directs their eye movement. It’s thought that the eye movement while remembering a traumatic event can help drain the emotion and negative feelings attached to it. This type of therapy is still relatively new and is considered a non-traditional form of therapy.
Medication For PTSD
For some, medication may be helpful in addition to therapy. According to the National Center for PTSD, antidepressants are sometimes effective for treating symptoms of PTSD. These types of medications include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Your doctor or therapist can help you determine if medication might be right for you.
Treatment for PTSD may not be a cure, as with most mental health disorders total recovery can be difficult or unobtainable. However, many people who receive therapy see a significant and life changing improvement of symptoms. For some, therapy may even lead to a near absolution of symptoms.
If you’re suffering from PTSD or you know someone who is, know that there are people who can help:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
- For veterans, the National Center for PTSD is also available by calling 1-800-273-8255 or you can reach online here: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
Hotlines are a good short-term solution, that should be followed up with therapy work from a trained professional. Build up a support network of people ready and willing to help when symptoms of PTSD become overwhelming. Be patient with yourself (or your loved one) because PTSD is a real disorder that requires time and care to improve.
Remember, setbacks don’t erase all progress. For best results, learn all you can about PTSD, seek professional help, and keep your focus on healing.
To Your Success,