Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder that takes an exhaustive toll on the those living with it. The disorder begins when trauma from a traumatic event manifests in the form of anxiety, triggers, and intrusive memories or flashbacks. Traumatic events can include but are not limited to serious incidents such as a car accident, exposure to a traumatic event, loss of a loved one, physical assault, childhood or domestic abuse, sexual assault or rape, and torture. Military soldiers are especially prone to PTSD, as violence from war can be deeply traumatic for those involved. PTSD can begin within one month of the event.
Treatment for people living with PTSD exists in multiple forms. Below is a list of PTSD treatment options and tips that may help you or a loved one.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This form of therapy, also known as CBT, involves a therapist who can assist with processing the traumatic event. Often, PTSD symptoms can affect how the individual handles adverse events and can diminish their self-confidence or sense of control. At its core, CBT aims to help the person living with PTSD regain control of their life.
- Medications: A person living with PTSD may want to contact their doctor about medication options. SSRIs and SNRIs are common PTSD and antidepressant medications that are used to increase the serotonin level of the patient. Serotonin can often fight fear and anxiety as the hormone plays a large role in stabilizing mood, happiness, and the feeling of well-being. When considering medication, it is important to talk to your doctor or medical professional to see what medications may be right for you.
- Coping Mechanisms to Use and Avoid:
- Use: If the feeling of anxiety begins to arise within the person living with PTSD, they could take a walk or turn to an enjoyable activity or hobby. This could help alleviate anxiety and refocus the energy productively.
- Use: Support groups help people realize that they aren’t alone. Finding a common connection can bring peace to those struggling and could provide insight on how to cope with the disorder.
- Avoid: People living with PTSD may self-medicate and turn to alcohol or abuse drugs to numb the pain. This form of coping is strongly advised against as these actions may cause physical and emotional harm to the individual and those around them.
- Avoid: A lack of proper sleep can adversely affect a person’s mood. The effect on the mood of a person living with PTSD could lead to magnified symptoms and a negative state of mind, which is why getting less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night should be avoided.
Talk with either your mental health professional or your primary care physician about your options and come up with a plan that works best for you.
You or a loved one may qualify for a PTSD clinical study with Pharmasite Research in Pikesville, Maryland. To find out if you or a loved one qualifies, sign up here.