We are still learning more about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and developing effective PTSD treatment options. We do know that PTSD is a documented psychological response that can occur in the body of a person who has experienced something severely threatening or stressful. It may have been one event or a series of events, but the effects can be short or long term, of varying severity and deeply impactful of a person’s wellbeing. Common symptoms of PTSD include insomnia, flashbacks, low self-esteem, struggles with emotional regulation and outbursts, anxiety, depression and a loss of interest in daily activities and events.
When it comes to PTSD treatment options, it is important for the treatment to be client guided. This means that you are in charge of making decisions about your own treatment. The first step is generally to identify issues that are important to you and then to determine next steps to make improvements. Once treatment has started, it will need to be frequently evaluated to ensure effectiveness and to allow for adjustments to be made as needed.
There are two major PTSD treatment options:
- Psychotherapy: Therapy can be short-term or long-term. Generally, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help change the thought patterns of a person with PTSD. This can help reduce triggers and negative thoughts while improving self-esteem.
- Medication: The FDA-approved PTSD medication options are paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft), but off-label options may be appropriate as well. If you are struggling with specific symptoms like insomnia or nightmares, medication geared towards those issues may be used.
Of course, these two PTSD treatment options can also be effectively combined as needed to support individualized outcomes.