What is PTSD?
According to the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that follows any experience or witnessing of life-threatening situations like war, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, accidents, or assault. Some folks can return to a normal life over time, but others face stresses that do not go away with time and can actually get progressively worse.
What are the symptoms?
People with PTSD usually relive their trauma through nightmares and flashbacks which results in insomnia, emotional or social detachment and overall social impairment. There are three main sets of symptoms:
- Nightmares, Trauma reminders, and flashbacks
- Fear, anxiety, anger, stress, and irritability
- Isolation, numbness, and detachment
How psychotherapy can help
PTSD can be treated with different types of psychotherapy including:
Psychotherapies – Trauma-focused
These psychotherapies are the effective kinds of treatment for PTSD. The goal is that the treatment focuses on every memory of the traumatic experience as well as its underlying meaning. These treatments use various methods to allow you to process your PTSD memories.
Techniques include visualizing, talking, or thinking about the trauma and experiences. Others work on altering unhealthy thoughts about the trauma that generally last around 8 to 16 sessions. Here, below, are the strongest evidence of psychotherapies that are trauma-focused:
PE or Prolonged Exposure
PE trains you on ways to get back control by dealing with your trauma-based feelings. Patients are made to talk about their feelings and trauma with a provider so that they can deal with experiences they’ve been avoiding.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
CPT lets you reframe negative beliefs about your trauma by talking with a provider about the negative thoughts while submitting short writing assignments.
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR lets you process and breaks down your trauma to understand it better. It has to do with recalling your trauma while focusing on any back-and-forth motion or audio.
Behavioral Therapy and PTSD
P.K. Philips was diagnosed with PTSD at 35. He was triggered by multiple traumas involving an abusive childhood as well as an attack at knifepoint. P.K. never felt safe, even at home. He couldn’t close his eyes without seeing the face of his attacker or facing horrible flashbacks and nightmares.
When he was finally diagnosed, taking medication and getting behavioral therapy finally gave him the sense of relief he’d been waiting for all his life. P.K. was able to regain control by finally being able to sleep and get a good job as an artist. Knowing that his disease is treatable was the one thing that kept him going so that he was able to deal with his trauma to improve his overall health.
Pick the right treatment for you
No single treatment is ideal for everyone. Some individuals feel discomfort when considering mental treatment because of social stigmas or stress over talking and the other side effects. You can discuss treatment options with professionals therapists so that with the right consultation, you’ll get the relief you need. With that said, get an appointment now!