Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD for short, is a mental health problem that develops in some people after a particularly dangerous or scary event. Events that usually trigger PTSD involve combat, sexual assault, child abuse, or natural disasters. In addition to that, anyone can develop PTSD, and there are so many factors outside one’s control that increase the chances of triggering PTSD. Luckily, psychiatrists have found many ways of treating people with PTSD.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
Cognitive processing therapy is part of the most common treatments for PTSD. In this method, clients talk about the traumatic event with their therapist in great detail and write down the things that they have discussed. This process aims to examine the traumatic event to figure out how to move past it. For example, many people blame themselves for the event, so they list down things beyond their control to understand that the incident was not their fault.
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Prolonged exposure therapy involves revisiting the traumatic event so you can cope with associated situations and circumstances more efficiently in the future. This type of treatment is beneficial for dealing with nightmares and flashbacks. Hopefully, by revisiting the event repeatedly, the patient learns how to manage the symptoms of PTSD. With the advancement of technology, some approaches use virtual reality simulations to achieve this.
- Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing Therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy involve calling to mind the traumatic event while paying attention to a set of movements or sounds. Usually, a finger waving side to side or a blinking flash of light is situated in front of you. Sometimes, distinctive tones or sounds accompany the experience. Hopefully, the experience becomes less distressing, and the memory starts to shift after a while by reducing the emotion and vividness of the memory.
- Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy
Brief eclectic psychotherapy intends to alter negative thoughts or feelings from the traumatic experience. According to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC, “Good psychotherapy is an amazing tool because a skilled therapist can help you discover and learn things that will help you lead a happier, healthier life.” This type of therapy combines cognitive behavioral therapy with psychodynamic themes and elements. In particular, the emotions of guilt and shame stemming from the event are brought into focus, and the patient’s relationship with his or her therapist is given importance as well. Through this, the patients would be able to leave the past behind.
The therapies listed above are just some of the most common ones that professionals use for these types of patients. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very complex phenomenon, and there are just so many factors that make this issue challenging to diagnose and treat. People with PTSD are more likely to commit suicide or inflict harm on others, so it is essential to address this as soon as possible, along with proper medication.
According to Sonja Seglin, LCPC, “Stress can seem omnipresent. Between working, socializing and taking care of the home, it sometimes seems we don’t have a minute to ourselves, let alone enough time to really take care of our bodies and minds.” PTSD doesn’t automatically mean that life is over. Psychiatrists are still learning new ways of diagnosing and treating this issue, in the hopes that this disorder becomes less debilitating in a person’s life. Nowadays, there is so much help and treatment available for victims of trauma. One just needs to be brave enough to look for it and actively take part in it.
Remember “therapy is a lot of work and this is important to keep in mind before starting. It’s imperative to understand this so that you can set realistic expectations for yourself.”Nathaniel Cilley, LMHC said.