Understanding PTSD and Treatment Options
Anyone can go through a traumatic event, or trauma. In fact, about half of all men and women will experience at least one trauma, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault, in their lives. It’s normal to think, act, and feel differently than usual after a traumatic experience, but if those reactions don’t improve after a few weeks or months, it may be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you or someone you know is having a difficult time moving past a trauma, take the steps to learn about PTSD and how to get help.
PTSD is a mental health concern that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year, and this is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma. Although we all react to a traumatic event, most people see their symptoms and stress lessen over time.
Everyone’s response and experience after a trauma is different, but people with PTSD have four main types of symptoms:
• Reliving or re-experiencing the event
• Avoiding situations that remind them of the event
• Hyperarousal or being on guard
• Negative changes in beliefs and feelings
Not everyone who experiences a trauma develops PTSD, but for those who do, it can have a serious impact on their life, work, and relationships.
Just like a physical injury, PTSD usually doesn’t get better if it isn’t treated. Without proper care, the symptoms may even get worse over time. PTSD treatment works and can help people make sense of their trauma, learn skills to better handle negative thoughts and feelings, reconnect with people they care about, and set goals for activities, like work or school, that they can handle. The sooner someone with PTSD gets treatment, the sooner they can start to feel better.
There are several proven, effective treatments available for PTSD. The most effective treatments are talk therapies like Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
PTSD treatment isn’t one size fits all, so the PTSD Treatment Decision Aid from the National Center for PTSD is a useful tool that people can use to compare effective treatment options and decide what’s best for them.
Also check out these helpful resources:
• Call us at (512) 451-7337 to discuss treatment options or schedule an appointment.
• Download free mobile apps to get self-help information and support.
• Learn more about combining counseling with integrative medicine to treat PTSD.
• Visit Hope for Heroes to see how we help veterans and service members.