Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a mental health condition. It is characterized by “intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks of past traumatic events, avoidance of reminders of trauma, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbance, all of which lead to considerable social, occupational, and interpersonal dysfunction.” There are many different treatment routes for individuals dealing with trauma, and there is no single method of treatment for PTSD that is universally recognized as more effective than others. Treatment plans can include a one or more psychotherapeutic modalities and interventions. Common components that could make up one’s PTSD treatment plan may include any combination of the following strategies, provided by the American Psychological Association (APA):
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): uses mindfulness skills to help an individual focus on accepting their emotions, while also helping to adjust the unhealthy behaviors that arise from the emotions.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): this can help correct irrational and/ or inaccurate thoughts a person may have regarding the trauma as well as help him or her develop skills and healthy coping mechanisms for reducing anxiety and stress.
- Creative arts therapy and expressive arts therapy (play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding trauma.
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): helps individuals learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to trauma.
- Group therapy: participating in group therapy sessions can help an individual learn from peers that are navigating thoughts and emotions related to trauma.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations in relation to the experienced trauma.
- Medications: there are four medications that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD, which are paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), venlafaxine (Effexor), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
It is important to bear in mind that there is no generalized treatment plan used for people recovering from PTSD. Everyone is different and will require a unique treatment plan to ensure all nuanced needs are properly addressed.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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