PTSD Treatment Help
In the wake of a traumatic event that involves violence or an actual or perceived threat of death or severe injury, survivors can develop a set of specialized symptoms collectively known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Signs of PTSD can include depression, dissociation, waking flashbacks, hallucinations, anxiety attacks, irrational fears, persistent guilt, isolation and even suicidal ideation. Though symptoms of PTSD typically surface within the first six months following a trauma, delayed onset is also common, with some individuals experiencing their first symptoms years after the date of trauma. While many cases of PTSD resolve after three months of the traumatic incident, many sufferers experience prolonged symptoms which can follow them for years. Regardless of the timeline involved in an individual’s experience of the anxiety disorder, obtaining professional PTSD help can help patients reduce or manage symptoms — and for many sufferers, can even completely resolve the disorder.
Forms of PTSD Help and Treatment
Because post-traumatic stress disorder is a complex condition, individuals may experience variable responses to treatments for PTSD. Here are just a few forms of PTSD therapies that are available to sufferers of the disorder, many of which are available at inpatient PTSD treatment centers.
- Medical Management
For some individuals with PTSD, medical solutions can help reduce or assuage symptoms of the disorder. Anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines can help calm anxiety and panic attacks, allowing the patient better functionality as well as the calm necessary in order to accomplish counseling work in dealing with the traumatic event. Antidepressants may be necessary when PTSD patients have experienced depression, self-harming behavior, eating disorders or suicidal thoughts as a result of the trauma they have suffered. Prescription sleep aids can also become indispensible to those with PTSD, both to promote uninterrupted sleep and to induce sleep when fear of chronic nightmares may cause insomnia.
- Talk Therapy
Many PTSD treatment centers offer talk therapy in the form of individualized counseling sessions with clinical therapists trained in trauma resolution. By speaking about the traumatic event, individuals can both gain context and understanding of the event itself and associated symptoms, removing the fear and stigma from their experiences. Additionally, talk therapy can help individuals accept and process their emotions around the traumatic event, aiding the mind in resolution of charged or disturbing memories.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Also known as EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing employs the use of alternating stimulation on each side of the body while a traumatic memory or associated belief is held in the patient’s mind. Though the reasons for EMDR’s effectiveness are relatively unknown, the therapy has been used to target PTSD symptoms with exceedingly high success rates. Trained practitioners of EMDR are also licensed clinical therapists, who can guide patients as they process traumatic memories. Bilateral stimulation can take several forms with EMDR, including auditory tones, vibrations felt in the hands and pulses of light or traveling images that stimulate both sides of the brain.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) combines the use of talk therapy and operant conditioning to help retrain neural pathways and repattern thoughts around the traumatic event and the patient’s views of the world and self. By focusing on negative cognitions, particular phobias, or physical responses, CBT has also been shown to be highly effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms of PTSD.
- Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy seeks to lower the patient’s response to triggering stimuli – reminders of the traumatic event that may induce high anxiety, panic attacks, breathing difficulties, paranoia, anger or emotional pain. By slowly and repeatedly exposing the patient to traumatic stimuli, exposure therapy attempts to normalize such cues and reduce the patient’s negative responses to triggers.
- PTSD Symptom Management
For those with persistent PTSD symptoms, management techniques can be learned to help cope with the residual signs of the disorder. From visualization and self-comforting techniques to stress reduction therapies and anger management, PTSD sufferers can learn methods of better coping with the disorder, in order to provide more functional job performance, self-esteem, relationships and lifestyle.
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
In some cases, PTSD causes secondary conditions to arise due to the trauma suffered by the patient. Alcoholism and drug addiction can set in as patients make attempts to self-medicate PTSD symptoms, and eating disorders can develop as patients attempt to regain a sense of external control. In cases where PTSD coincides with depression, a personality disorder, addiction or other condition, inpatient treatment may be necessary in order to resolve complications of PTSD. Such instances, known as “Dual Diagnosis cases,” can be effectively treated at a dedicated, residential PTSD treatment center.
Finding Help for PTSD
If you or someone you love suffers from symptoms of PTSD, residential treatment centers exist that can help resolve both the root causes of trauma and its residual effects. We invite you to call on behalf of yourself or a loved one to learn more about PTSD, its treatments and the healing options available to you. Our caring and competent counselors await your phone call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will count it a privilege to connect you with some of the nation’s most reputable PTSD treatment programs.