PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a mental illness that significantly affects one’s thoughts, emotions and relationships. The medical diagnosis for the condition includes a host of symptoms that could last for more than a month. PTSD often results from direct/indirect exposure to disturbing details of a disaster. Healthcare providers and first responders who work with trauma survivors could also be exposed.
What are the Treatments for PTSD?
Although many treatments are advertised as effective for PTSD, only a handful of them are proven to be effective and safe, using established research techniques. These include medication, psychotherapy, and a combination of the two. While experts have been trying to come up with viable treatment approaches, close to half of all patients who enroll either remain symptomatic or drop out altogether.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment that aims to restructure the patient’s thinking patterns that influence emotions. Basically, a therapist counsels the individual to help them understand how you think about trauma in the aftermath. For instance, people who don’t feel comfortable around crowded areas are taught how to view the world differently, so that they’re able to live a fuller life.
Cognitive therapy uses various psychological treatment methods to help patients come to terms with traumatic events. With the help of a counselor, patients learn how to replace their negative feelings with thoughts that are more accurate, and less distressing as well. They’re also equipped with coping techniques to help them overcome anger, fear and guilt.
Medications are commonly used hand-in-hand with psychotherapy for PTSD. The most commonly prescribed drugs for trauma victims include antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics. The latter are perceived to be more effective for patients who suffer from dissociation, agitation and paranoia.
Antidepressants are known to reduce impulsiveness, aggression and suicidal thoughts. Because they could take up to 8 weeks to work, individuals are advised to be patient when taking them. Patients don’t always respond to the first kind of antidepressant they try. In such cases, a different drug will usually be prescribed when the first one fails to work. If taken for at least one year, antidepressants could effectively ward off a relapse of PTSD.
Generally, medications should only be prescribed by a psychiatrist. Before a prescription is issued, however, the doctor will usually inform the patient about possible side effects one may experience while under medication. They’ll also disclose any possible withdrawal symptoms that could follow afterwards.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Here, there are several approaches that are usually considered alternative to mainstream medical practices. One such approach is acupuncture, a technique that has been seen to improve some PTSD symptoms. Other treatments include energy techniques, body manipulation and movement techniques, service dogs Washington, as well as some natural products.
Broadly, there’s not much evidence to recommend these approaches as the primary treatment for PTSD. Although some relaxation techniques could be considered as complementary treatments for hyper-arousal symptoms, their effectiveness is largely unknown. Still, CAM approaches may be considered for individuals who aren’t comfortable with established treatment techniques.
In the wake of disasters, abuses and accidents, victims can face a host of issues, ranging from emotional detachment to insomnia. Such symptoms of PTSD can cause substantial disruptions in one’s physical and social life. But what are the treatments for PTSD, you may ask? Well, everyone is different, which means an approach that works well for one trauma survivor may not be of any help for another. Nevertheless, one could explore a number of treatments in order to find one that works for them. Consulting a doctor to discuss these options would certainly be recommended.