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Do I Have PTSD? A New Perspective on Treating Trauma




Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health disorder that results from experiencing some type of traumatic event. Some of these traumatic events include war, physical and/or sexual abuse or assault, and serious health emergencies. Anybody can get PTSD, but it is more common in females and people who have a history of mental illness.

Symptoms of PTSD

There are a number of symptoms associated with PTSD. These include re-experiencing symptoms, like nightmares and flashbacks, avoidance symptoms, like avoiding emotions or people, arousal and reactivity symptoms, such as angry outbursts and feeling tense, and cognition and mood symptoms, such as feelings of guilt and memory loss of the event. These symptoms usually begin soon after the event and must last for at least a month to be considered PTSD. It is normal for people to display some symptoms after traumatic experiences, but it may not be PTSD. If you think you may have post-traumatic stress disorder, see a mental health professional for help.

Treating PTSD

There are a number of therapies and medications that can help treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of these therapies are different types of cognitive behavioral therapies.

Medications:

Medication is used to change the chemistry of the brain. The change of the brain chemistry can help reduce the depression, anxiety, and re-experiencing symptoms. These medications include anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta-blockers, benzodiazepines, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Cognitive Processing Therapy:

Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a treatment plan that spans about 12 weeks. This therapy includes detailed and in-depth examination and evaluation of the trauma that caused the PTSD. The therapy is to help the patient process and understand that the event was out of control.

Stress Inoculation Training:

Stress inoculation training focuses on learning how to manage the aftermath of the traumatic event. It focuses on learning techniques and skills to stop the negative feelings and anxiety associated with PTSD.

Exposure Therapy:

Exposure therapy works on bringing normalcy to the patient’s life. The patient learns ways to deal with the anxiety and stress of living with their trauma. The patient then gradually tries to introduce the things they were avoiding back into their lives.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing:

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that uses eye movement to help make the memories less debilitating. It focuses on the past events that have caused the patient to feel the way they do, as well as present situations that trigger their emotions, and develop the skills that they need to cope in the future.

Remember, if you think that you may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, see a licensed mental health professional. PTSD can be difficult to cope with on its own, but proper treatment may better your quality of life in the future.

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