Treatment Interventions for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Living through a traumatic event affects different people in different ways. While some may be able to continue on with the affairs of daily life, others become stuck inside the fear and loss of control these events bring. Someone who’s unable to move past these feelings may well be experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.
Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, past abuse issues and physical assault all present prime opportunities for posttraumatic stress disorders to take root. It’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of fear, danger and disconnection for a short while after a traumatic event takes place. Remaining frightened and anxious for months or years afterwards generally indicates a person has gotten stuck inside the memory of the event.
Fortunately, someone who suspects they’re struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder has a wide range of treatment interventions from which to choose. As with any treatment approach, it’s always best to go with the types of interventions that best address your specific treatment needs.
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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder can surface right away, or take weeks months or even years to manifest. According to Appalachian State University, someone affected by posttraumatic stress disorder will exhibit one or more of the following symptoms –
- Living in a state of hyper-arousal that makes it difficult to concentrate or sleep restfully
- Feeling emotional numb in the face of anything or anyone that reminds him or her of the event
- Experiencing repeated flashback, nightmares and/or memories of the event
Treatment interventions for PTSD enable a person to –
- Work through unresolved feelings of guilt and self-blame
- Develop healthy coping behaviors for managing intrusive thoughts and memories
- Fully process the thoughts and emotions surrounding the traumatic event
- Work through present-day relationship and self-identity issues caused by the event
Cognitive Processing Therapy
PTSD suffers may develop a sense that the world is no longer a safe place. Some people may actually blame themselves or view themselves as weak or incompetent for letting the event happen.
According to the American Psychological Association, Cognitive Processing Therapy addresses the faulty belief systems and thinking processes that drive posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. This treatment approach also includes an exposure component that gradually exposes a person to the full experience of the traumatic event. This technique helps to break the emotional hold of the event over a person’s daily life experiences.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy takes a head-on approach to defusing the effects of a past trauma within a person’s daily life. This technique gradually exposes a person to anything that reminds him or her of the trauma. This includes feelings, thoughts and situations.
Over the course of treatment, a person learns to replace thoughts and emotions associated with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms with a more balanced perspective on where the past trauma fits within his or her life today. As with any form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, undoing faulty belief systems and thought patterns remains the focus of this treatment approach.
We can help you find the best PTSD treatment for you. Call 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) toll free to find help today.
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
For someone struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder, the thoughts and emotions surrounding the inciting event become a primary frame of reference in his or her everyday life. Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing techniques attempt to redirect a person’s frame of reference whenever PTSD symptoms arise.
With Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, the therapist prompts the client to engage in eye-movement activities whenever experiencing thoughts or emotions related to the traumatic event. Eye-movements may be self-directed or the therapist may have the client follow hand taps in an effort to redirect attention away from distressing thought patterns and/or feelings.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Whenever a person experiences a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder, he or she is essentially reliving the traumatic incident in some shape or form. In effect, the events associated with the trauma merge with present-day reminders, making it difficult for a person to engage in or connect with the present moment.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy gradually exposes the client to the inciting event in a controlled manner. Over time, a person regains control over posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms as they arise. In the process, he or she develops a more realistic perspective in terms of feeling safe and secure within daily life.
Regardless of the type of intervention used, recovering from posttraumatic stress disorder entails a healing process that takes time. Self-help interventions can be just as effective as therapy-based approaches depending on the severity of the disorder.
A sense of helplessness most characterizes the overall effect of posttraumatic stress disorder. Self-help interventions focus on challenging this sense of helplessness and building upon the strengths and coping skills a person already possesses.
Helping others offers an effective way to regain one’s sense of power, and in turn overcome feelings of helplessness. Activities, such as working as a volunteer or helping a friend in need can work wonders at instilling a person’s sense of presence and purpose.
As posttraumatic stress disorder generally leaves a person feeling numb and emotionally detached from others, it’s important to reach out and stay connected with friends and family. Joining a local support group for survivors can also go a long way towards reconnecting with life and working through PTSD issues.
Symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder can be so severe as to impair a person’s ability to function in everyday life. When symptoms make it difficult to form or maintain lasting relationships or function in the workplace, medication treatment is often necessary.
Severe PTSD symptoms may well cause full-blown depression and/or anxiety disorders to take shape. Under these conditions, anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications can offer considerable relief from disorder symptoms and enable a person to function effectively in daily life.
Call 800-598-5053 (Who Answers?) toll free to find the help you need today.
When left untreated, posttraumatic stress disorder can have widespread effects in a person’s life, according to Mayo Clinic. Like any other type of psychological disorder, PTSD symptoms only grow worse over time as faulty thinking patterns and emotional responses become ingrained within a person’s psychological make-up.
Ultimately, working through the traumatic event and fully processing the experience offers the most effective means for overcoming PTSD. While self-help interventions can be of benefit in some cases, people experiencing considerable distress as a result of the disorder may want to consider seeking professional help through a therapist.