When symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) surface, many patients find themselves overwhelmed. The nature of perpetually returning to a crisis state can prove exhausting, particularly when symptoms persist over time. In the wake of frequent nightmares, perceptual alterations, panic attacks and ancillary effects such as depression, anxiety and cognitive disturbances, PTSD can feel like a recurrent – and never-ending – nightmare. However, despite its severe and lingering impacts, post-traumatic stress disorder can be resolved when the proper PTSD treatment help is sought out and obtained.
Why Is PTSD Treatment Help Necessary?
While it’s natural to have an emotional and even physical response to disturbing events, some occurrences become so traumatic they do not fully resolve in the brain. As a result, the individual begins to re-experience the traumatic event itself, as the brain makes attempts to assure the body’s safety. For some individuals, the resolution of PTSD symptoms comes within the first six months of the traumatic event. However, due to late onset of symptoms, multiple traumas or severe distress, many individuals require specialized therapy in order to eliminate the effects of PTSD.
What Can PTSD Treatment Achieve?
PTSD treatment has three main aims – to help sufferers deal with PTSD symptoms that may be experienced in the present, to bring context and insight to the traumatic event itself, and to eliminate the source of PTSD through reconditioning of the brain and body. For many individuals, much relief is found in basic cognitive therapy, through the normalization of reactions to trauma and deepening understanding of the traumatic event itself and its effects on their personhood. In some cases, PTSD treatment may also involve carefully prescribed medication, either to assuage secondary symptoms of depression and anxiety, or to treat compounding mental health issues that may complicate trauma recovery.
Targeted Types of PTSD Treatment Help
Somatic therapies can also help ground the individual when they are experiencing a traumatic flashback, awake from a nightmare or feel an anxiety attack arising. Targeted PTSD treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help individuals “retrain” their cognitive and physical responses to trauma. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can also prove immensely effective as a PTSD treatment, allowing the brain to release traumatic memories through a combination of therapy and gentle sensory stimulation on both sides of the body. Exposure therapy can also be used in conjunction with PTSD treatment (most often in alliance with CBT), in order to assuage the charged nature of traumatic reminders (known as “triggers”). For those who have developed secondary issues due to the stress, control issues or fatigue involved with PTSD, treatment for eating disorders, alcoholism or drug addiction may also be necessary.