The treatment of PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be very effective and there are a number of effective interventions available. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be very helpful. A type of CBT called Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is also helpful as is Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy. There are also a number of medications that can help you cope with post traumatic stress disorder. We will outline several types of treatment that have proven to be effective with PTSD.
Treatment of PTSD: Cognitive Therapy
A psychotherapist practicing Cognitive Therapy helps their patients change their thinking patterns, especially their thoughts about their traumatic event and their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. The goal of cognitive therapy is to understand how specific thoughts and words you tell yourself actually cause more stress and exacerbate your symptoms.
In Cognitive Therapy you will learn to identify the exact thoughts related to post traumatic stress disorder that cause you to be fearful and upset. Your therapist will help you to replace those thoughts with more realistic and less upsetting thoughts. For example, if you are angry your therapist will help you find ways to cope with those feelings as well as any guilt and of course, your fears.
People who’ve gone through a traumatic event often blame themselves when in fact they aren’t to blame as they had no control over the events. Those in the military commonly blame themselves for situations they had no control over and decisions they were forced to make in the midst of combat. Cognitive Therapy, a form of CBT, helps survivors of post traumatic stress disorder accept that they were not at fault and had no control over the events.
Treatment of PTSD: Exposure Therapy
People who experience post traumatic stress disorder have intrusive thoughts about the original traumatic event. The goal of Exposure Therapy is to become less fearful when remembering the traumatic event. The theory is that people learn to avoid the thoughts and feelings that remind them of their traumatic event.
When you talk about the event over and over again with a trained therapist, the fear subsides as you learn to gain control over what you tell yourself and how you feeling. In exposure therapy, you are in fact thinking about the stressful event on purpose, reviewing what you are telling yourself and identifying triggers to your post traumatic stress response. But over time, as you identify these irrational thoughts and beliefs, your post traumatic stress related symptoms will begin to subside.
In Exposure Therapy you first focus and remember events, incidents or thoughts related to the original traumatic event that are less stressful, then you gradually work your way up to the more stressful memories that contributed to your post traumatic stress disorder. This process is called “systematic desensitization”. It provides a way for you to deal with frightening and traumatic memories a little at a time. You’re in a safe environment and you are not alone and this reality helps you cope with your memories and eventually not be so upset by them.
Relaxation techniques can also be very helpful and these are practiced in therapy. Deep breathing exercises are a good way to calm down and soothe the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
Treatment of PTSD: Group Therapy
There are a lot of people who find comfort in taking about their traumatic event with others who have been through similar situations. It helps to share your experience and in a group setting there is a lot of support and this is very helpful in making you more at ease talking about these things. It helps you cope with all the memories and should reduce your symptoms of PTSD. You will also talk about other areas of your life and in time build relationships with others who have been suffering from PTSD also and understand what you’re going through. By discussing your emotions related to post traumatic stress disorder, your anger, guilt and possibly shame and even your fear will subside. In the process your confidence and trust in others will begin to re-build.
Because our treatment for depression and anxiety programs rely on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in seven peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.
Despite the availability of effective treatments for PTSD, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment. Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, including PTSD, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful. People who have completed our program have provide very high consumer satisfaction scores and reviews. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.