Great strides have been made in recent decades with regards to treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. Because we know so much more about PTSD than we did 30 or 40 years ago, we have been able to identify which types of therapy treatments are the most effective for people with PTSD. No longer is traditional talk therapy the only treatment choice, nor is it considered the best.
Cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective type of therapy treatment for a person with PTSD. Therapists trained in the use of cognitive behavior therapy work to help you identify your feeling about the trauma and also help you learn to change certain faulty thought patterns that you may have associated with the trauma. For instance, a woman who is date raped may feel afraid to date, thinking that she cannot trust her judgment to know what is safe.
A cognitive behavioral therapist will allow the woman to express her fears, anger and doubts then help her find new, more accurate ways to view what happened to her. This may include helping her to know that what happened was not her fault and that her judgment can be trusted.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to be fairly short term. Unlike talk therapy were years can be spent, cognitive behavioral therapy often last less than a year with very positive results.
Exposure therapy is the next most effective type of therapy. This is the type of therapy that is used to help people with extreme fear of flying, or other crippling fears. With exposure, or immersion therapy, the person with PTSD is asked to remember the traumatic event, usually beginning with the less painful thoughts and progressing to the very painful thoughts. The trauma is remembered and talked about purposely to help the trauma survivor become desensitized to the thoughts and feelings that are preventing them from moving forward,
While it may sound frightening to have to face your trauma so boldly and repeatedly, it truly does work and while it hurts at the start, if effective you will be able to distance yourself enough from the trauma that talk of it, and thoughts and feelings will no longer have such extreme power over you. While you may not be able to imagine it now, there can come a day when you can talk openly and calmly about what happened to you. Not only will this be a gift to you, but at the same time, you will have the ability to help others who have been through what you’ve been through.
The newcomer in therapy treatments for PTSD is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. This works much in the same way as exposure therapy. You are encouraged to talk about your trauma, but while talking about it you are taught to use eye movements, or hand taps, or other distracting gestures to help you cope with your thoughts differently.
Other treatment modalities include the use of antidepressants to help people with PTSD who are depressed or anxious, as well as group therapy and family therapy. Group therapy provides an atmosphere of understanding and support coming from other trauma survivors. Family therapy can be quite helpful for all concerned in understanding how to help you if you have PTSD, and how you can change the unhealthy ways that you may be interacting with family members.
There are many treatment choices out there and one is bound to be suitable for you. The first step is often the hardest, though, and that is the step that begins to take you away from your fears and to the phone to get help. PTSD colors the way you see everything and how you experience life. If PTSD is robbing you from enjoying the richness of life, then it is time to take that first step towards help and health.
Treatment of PTSD