As society has grown to improve its understanding of trauma, and traumatic experiences, PTSD treatment options have changed. Modern understanding of this mental health condition has broadened the therapeutic options available to individuals suffering. PTSD treatment therapy includes cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR), and prolonged exposure (PE) therapy.
For many years, PTSD was referred to as “shell shock.” While PTSD has likely existed for hundreds of years, it began to be widely acknowledged with the conclusion of World War I. The returning soldiers were exhibiting signs of being emotionally damaged from the ravages of the Great War. While PTSD has been referred to in many ways, it differs from other psychiatric disorders. But what is PTSD?
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that is directly correlated to a terrifying event. The individual may have witnessed or experienced the terrifying event, but this psychiatric disorder is directly triggered by this moment. The traumatic moment triggers the human body’s “fight or flight” symptoms. In less terrifying moments, the “fight or flight” symptoms eventually subside. But with a traumatic experience, those symptoms can reoccur long after the event has ended.
Some common catalysts for developing PTSD are war/combat, terrorist acts, serious accidents, rape, violence, near-death experiences, and natural disasters. These events may cause terrifying nightmares, severe anxiety, flashbacks, and hyper focused thoughts revolving around the experience. If you find yourself having difficulty coping with the event and adjusting to life afterward, you may be experiencing PTSD. The symptoms will get worse and impact the quality of your life.
When you are suffering from PTSD, it is critical to begin receiving PTSD treatment. For individuals experiencing these symptoms, the best treatment for PTSD is to begin working with a skilled mental health professional. But, how do you treat PTSD?
How Is PTSD Treated Today?
After World War I, thousands of soldiers returned from a devastating war with emotional symptoms that were not linked to any physical damage they may have incurred during combat. Doctors at the time began referring to these symptoms as “Shell Shock” due to soldiers being exposed to exploding shells during the brutal fighting.
Early treatment for these traumas were not sensitive to the emotional component of these symptoms. Due to societal norms at the time, “Shell Shock” was seen as a sign of weakness or failure. These treatments may have been just as damaging, if not cruel, to those suffering. These approaches included:
- Electroconvulsive shock treatment
- Disciplinary treatment (physical or militarily)
- Solitary confinement
- Emotional deprivation
- Forced movement of limbs with machines
- Electric heat baths
As society has grown to improve its understanding of trauma, and traumatic experiences, PTSD treatment options have changed. The best way to treat PTSD is through therapy. Modern understanding of this mental health condition has broadened the therapeutic options available to individuals suffering.
Forms of therapy for PTSD now include trauma-focused psychotherapy and medication. PTSD treatment therapy includes cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR), and prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. With these various psychotherapy (or talk therapy) approaches, it may leave you wondering how do therapists treat PTSD with these options.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For PTSD:
A type of talk therapy that supports the individual to recognize how their patterns of thinking may emotionally paralyze them, and keep them in a constant state of trauma. This therapy is usually coupled with exposure therapy when treating PTSD.
Exposure Therapy For PTSD:
This is a type of behavioral therapy which helps suffering individuals safely acknowledge and face situations and memories revolving around the traumatic event.
EDMR Therapy For PTSD:
A series of guided eye movements that encourage the individuals to focus on the trauma while experiencing eye movement stimulation. This allows the individual to experience a reduction or even relief from the magnitude of the trauma experience.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy For PTSD:
A therapy that assists and teaches individuals how to gently approach trauma related memories and environments. This therapy supports patients to focus on not avoiding their trauma or its associated memories, and allowing them to confront the symptoms of the event itself. This allows for long-term recovery from their PTSD.
Medication Therapy For PTSD:
Typically used to support talk therapy, certain prescription medications like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are used to help individuals overcome their trauma symptoms. SSRIs are antidepressants used to alleviate the depression symptoms triggered by the traumatic experience.
While there is no “catch-all” sure proof way to treat PTSD, there are many types of treatment that can help support an individual function and cope with the traumatic event. The important thing for individuals suffering from PTSD is to reach out for mental health therapy. The best therapy for PTSD is to be under the guidance of a mental health professional who can help establish a treatment plan for them to overcome their symptoms. Patients can learn techniques to help them manage and cope with their emotional triggers to better function in their day to day life.
If you are struggling with PTSD, and need help to begin treatment for your symptoms, Call Gemini Health (301) 363-1063. We are a team of skilled mental health professionals who are trained in various treatment approaches. Gemini Health can help treat and manage your mental and behavioral health concerns. Call today to schedule an appointment today.