Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month – How is PTSD Treated?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can occur as the result of life-threatening, traumatic or scary events. Those with PTSD often experience symptoms like insomnia, flashbacks, depression, low self-esteem, and painful or unpleasant emotions surrounding the traumatic event.
At GreeningLaw P.C., we understand that for people suffering with PTSD, it can sometimes feel like they’ll never get their lives back in order. Because many of our clients have experienced these kinds of traumatic events, we want to offer some information about the condition and make people aware of some of the treatments offered.
The good news is that post-traumatic stress disorder can be treated. There are a number of treatments that can provide relief in the both short and long term, including things like psychiatric therapy, medications, or even a combination of both.
Treatment options for PTSD have several goals:
What kinds of therapies are used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder?
Most of the effective therapeutic techniques for PTSD are forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The goal behind CBT is to change the thought patterns that are disturbing your life. This is often accomplished by talking about the trauma or concentrating on where your fears are coming from. Depending on the situation, group or family therapy may also be useful beyond individual sessions.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) has proven to be effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD following a variety of traumatic events. One of the major goals of CPT is to the teach you to recognize the relationship between your thoughts and emotions so you can identify “automatic thoughts” that cause PTSD symptoms, which is why this form of treatment often begins with education regarding PTSD, thoughts, and emotions.
The therapist will ask you to talk about the traumatic event and how your thoughts related to it affect your life. The therapist will then use specific questions and other strategies to help you question your unhelpful thoughts about the trauma to help you break the pattern of negative thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE). Most people want to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma they experienced, but this just further reinforces any fears and negative emotions. Prolonged exposure therapy works by having patients gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations in order to confront the fears surrounding the traumatic event.
At the beginning of treatment, your therapist will teach you a breathing technique that can help ease anxiety during the exposure portions. During exposure, the therapist will ask you to describe the events in detail, guiding you through the process and helping you process the emotions you’re experiencing. Later exposure, often given as homework, will have you gradually confront the things you fear in real life, using the techniques learned in initial therapy to help you manage your anxiety and process your emotion properly.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). While other treatments focus on altering the thoughts and emotions around your traumatic experience, EMDR therapy focuses directly on the memory, changing the way it’s stored in the brain to reduce symptoms.
With EMDR, you might not have to tell your therapist about your experience. Instead, you concentrate on it while focusing on something else – often a moving hand, flashing light, or even a sound. The goal is to be able to think about something positive while you remember your trauma to decrease the impact that memory has on your emotions and thoughts.
What kinds of medications can help with PTSD?
In some cases of those with PTSD, there is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that causes them to process perceived threats differently. And while medications probably won’t get rid of your symptoms, they may be able to make them less intense and more manageable. They can also help you feel more “normal” again and improve your outlook on life, which gives many people the boost they need to get into some of the therapies discussed above.
Types of medications that have been shown to improve symptoms of PTSD include:
You and your doctor should work together to determine if a certain medication is right for you, your symptoms and situation.
We want to help those with PTSD get the help they need
At GreeningLaw P.C., we understand that some traumatic events can alter your life forever. Those with PTSD may be unable to work and often require medical treatment and psychological counseling. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of PTSD as a result of someone else’s negligence – whether through a car accident, truck wreck, physical or sexual assault, or a serious accident – we’re here to help you through the process and make sure you get the support you need both now and in the future.
The lawyers at GreeningLaw P.C. treat each case with the personalized care and respect we would afford our own families. From helping you get the medical and psychological attention you need, to dealing with the insurance companies and making sure you get the ongoing care you need, we’re with you every step of the way. And as one of the most recognized personal injury law firms in the state, we know how to ensure that victims of sexual assault are properly compensated for their suffering.
We fight the legal battle so you have time for healing and renewal.
Call (972) 934-8900 or visit our contact page today.