PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that can happen to a person after a deeply threatening or scary event. For some people, the shock of what happened can be so great that they have a hard time living a normal life.
People suffering from PTSD can have insomnia, flashbacks, low self-esteem, and experience a lot of painful or unpleasant emotions. If someone has PTSD, they might feel like they would never get their normal life back. But current advancements have shown that PTSD can be treated when short and long term psychotherapy and medications are effectively combined.
Treatment for PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment can help regain a sense of control over the life of people suffering from this disorder. The primary treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy, but can also include medication.
PTSD therapy has three main goals that include improving the symptoms, teaching skills to deal with it, and restoring self-esteem. For therapy, the idea is to change the thought patterns that are disturbing the life and this can happen through talking about the trauma or concentrating on where the fears come from.
Some types of psychotherapy used in PTSD treatment include:
- Cognitive therapy- This type of talk therapy helps recognize the ways of thinking that are keeping you stuck such as negative beliefs about yourself and the risk of traumatic things happening again.
- Exposure therapy- This is a kind of behavioral therapy that helps you safely face both situations and memories that you find frightening so that you can learn to cope with them effectively.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)- EMDR combines exposure therapy with a series of guided eye movements that help in processing traumatic memories and change how you react to them.
The therapist will also help you develop stress management skills to help in handling stressful situations and coping with stress in your life.
Medications can also help to stop thinking about traumatic events and reacting to what happened, including having nightmares and flashbacks. The medications can also help you have a more positive outlook on life and feel more normal again.
There are several types of drugs that affect the chemistry in brain related to fear and anxiety. Several types of medications that can help improve symptoms of PTSD are antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and prazosin. Which medication likely to work best for you depends on the kinds of trouble you are having in your life, the side effects, and whether you also have anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse problems.
Medications might not get rid of your symptoms, but they can make them less intense and more manageable for you.
Combining these therapy and medication treatments can help improve your symptoms by teaching you skills to address your symptoms, helping you think better about yourself, learning ways to cope if any symptoms arise again and treating other problems often related to traumatic experiences, such as depression, anxiety, or misuse of alcohol or drugs.
Coping with PTSD
You can also take these coping actions as you continue with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder:
- Get exercise- Many PTSD victims find regular exercise to be therapeutic and beneficial in many ways. You need to be aware of your body and all of your limbs and that is important. And exercise has also been proven to help with stress which is a huge benefit.
- Social support- It has been found that finding support from others can be a huge factor in helping people overcome the negative effects of a traumatic event. Having someone you trust that you can talk to can be very helpful for working through stressful situations.
- Become aware of your triggers- Always be on the lookout for potential triggers and learn how to manage them. Increase your awareness to anything that can cause anger, flashback or anxiety so that you can manage them before they overwhelm you.
- Try to regularly engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Rebuilding a sense of self is an important part of the recovery process in PTSD treatment. You can try anything that builds your self-worth such as meditation and doing volunteer work.
- Become mindful- Mindfulness training can be important in dealing with stress symptoms. Mindfulness is a way to become centered on the present and become aware of your body and the sensations around you. Learning this beneficial skill will help mitigate PTSD triggers.
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