How to Treat PTSD

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 10:11 AM

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When you are involved in a traumatic event, post-traumatic stress disorder may result. This anxiety disorder is one in which the person who has witnessed or experienced a distressing event cannot come to terms with the event. Symptoms may get worse over time and can last for an extended period of time. When you or someone you love witnesses an event of this type, immediate treatment is needed for relief. The sooner treatment is sought, the lower the risk of PTSD becoming a long-term problem.

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder focuses on getting control back of your life. You will feel more confident and be able to deal with symptoms as they arise. A combination of medication and psychotherapy is the preferred treatment as this will not only help to improve your symptoms but also teach you ways to better cope when the symptoms do appear.

Many types of medications may be prescribed to treat PTSD. If you are experiencing anxiety or stress, an anti-anxiety medication will help. If depression and anxiety are the main symptoms, antidepressants often work better. An antidepressant proves to be effective if concentration is disrupted or you have problems sleeping. Work with your doctor to determine which combination is right for you while producing the fewest side effects. A number of combinations may need to be tried but, once the right one is found, you should notice an improvement in just a few short weeks.

Psychotherapy is also frequently used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Different forms may be used depending on your situation and the symptoms you are experiencing. Therapy may involve groups sessions, individual counseling, or both. When group therapy is used, it allows you to see that you are not alone and that others understand what you are going through.

Exposure therapy works to help you feel safe when confronting the thing that upsets or disturbs you. This allows you to cope effectively when encountering this situation and may be combined with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Here your exposure therapy will occur along with eye movements which are guided. This method helps with the processing of traumatic memories.

Cognitive therapy involves the talking out of problems so you can identify any thought patterns which are self destructive. Cognitive behavior therapy combines the above approach with behavior therapy so, once the thought patterns have been identified, you can replace them with positive thoughts and behaviors. Any and all may work for you. It is important to remember though that the earlier treatment is sought, the more successful it will be.

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