How Is PTSD Treated?

Ptsd New York, NY

Countless people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after experiencing a traumatic event. Those who have this disorder might re-experience the event, feel emotional numbness, and have difficulty sleeping. Irritation and anger are also common for those with this mental condition. Living with the condition is not easy, so many seek treatment. While each PTSD patient is different, many respond well to a combination of medicine and therapy.

Medications to treat PTSD

Psychiatrists have a variety of medication options for treating patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Medications might be used on their own or in combination with other medications. Regular sessions can determine if the medications are working. The patient must work with the mental health provider to ensure progress.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are a common choice for treating PTSD. Out of the available antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are proven to be the most effective. SSRIs alleviate depression and anxiety and make it easier for people to sleep. They also improve concentration. The FDA has approved the SSRIs paroxetine and sertraline for PTSD patients.

Anti-anxiety medications

Anti-anxiety medications are also used to treat PTSD. These often include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam and alprazolam. It is possible to become addicted to many of the anti-anxiety medications available, so these drugs are only prescribed for short-term use. The patient will need to keep frequent appointments with the psychiatrist while using these medications to ensure that addiction is not becoming an issue.

Prazosin

Prazosin is an alpha-blocker. While it was not originally used to treat PTSD, it is becoming increasingly common for those who suffer from nightmares due to this disorder. Early research shows it can reduce and, in some cases, suppress nightmares in those who suffer from PTSD. This makes it easier for people to sleep and alleviates the symptoms that come from experiencing vivid and terrifying dreams.

Therapy to treat PTSD

Psychiatrists often recommend that patients also seek therapy from a licensed psychotherapist. Just like with medication, therapists have a variety of options for treating patients. An initial assessment can determine if the patient needs to continue with medications and talk therapy. The mental health provider may need to consider alternative treatments if the patient is not getting better.

Cognitive processing therapy

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) helps people reframe the trauma to better deal with it. This course of treatment usually takes 12 weeks, and patients should go every week. Sessions last for 60-90 minutes each. The patient must have the dedication and motivation to keep each appointment.

Prolonged exposure therapy

Prolonged exposure therapy is a popular choice for those suffering from PTSD. Patients learn how to manage stress when dealing with situations that frighten them. Patients face the scary things one by one until they learn to effectively manage their symptoms. Each of them usually needs eight to 15 sessions. These sessions generally last for 90 minutes.

Additional therapies

Patients might also undergo stress inoculation training or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. The therapist will work with the psychiatrist to choose the right option for the patient. PTSD is a damaging condition. It may take time to find out the right solution for a particular patient. Most patients may need to go through some trial and error to determine which treatment works the most.

The benefits of getting help

Seeing a mental health professional may seem intimidating to many people. That is why it takes courage and determination to seek help for PTSD. A person who gets help can gain many benefits from it. Here are some of them:

  • It speeds up healing and processing. The body tends to experience stress and tension because of an increase in norepinephrine and cortisol production. The brain maintains its survival mode. This makes the person jumpy and agitated all the time. Getting the right treatment from a mental health provider can help tone down the brain’s hyperactivity. It can prevent the patient from reliving the trauma over and over again.
  • It helps the patient get a good support system. Seeing a mental health professional can give the patient someone to turn to. It helps the individual feel that there is someone who is always ready to listen. The mental health provider can help the patient cope with stress and other symptoms. This professional can also create a treatment plan for the patient’s personal needs and goals.
  • It helps the patient regain control. Regular therapy can help the patient get rid of the fears and flashbacks. Once the negativities are gone, the patient can achieve normalcy again.

Do not fight PTSD on your own

Many people think they can overcome the symptoms of PTSD on their own, but most require outside help. A combination of medication and therapy is just what the doctor orders when dealing with PTSD. Staying with the treatment plan can help the patient get better over time. The right treatment helps patients live happy and fulfilled lives.

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