In part one of this two-part blog post, we discussed post traumatic stress disorder, what it is, and what the symptoms are. PTSD affects people who have experienced a horrifying or traumatic event in their lives, and are triggered by other situations, words or objects that remind them of the trauma. In this post, we’ll discuss treatment and healing from post traumatic stress disorder.
In order to be treated for PTSD, you have to be diagnosed by a medical professional. You also need to be experience each of four types of symptoms for at least one month. People suffering from PTSD often have trouble functioning in their day-to-day lives. They may have flashbacks, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, feelings of guilt or shame, depression, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts. Seeking treatment is incredibly important for anyone who may be experiencing PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is often treated with medications, psychotherapy (talk therapy with a licensed professional), or both. Antidepressants are often used to treat PTSD, since they may help patients cope with sadness, anxiety and anger. These medications often only treat symptoms, though, and don’t fully help people heal and move forward.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy or counseling with a licensed professional, can help someone with PTSD talk through their experience, situation, anxieties, fears and feelings. Speaking with a counselor can help PTSD sufferers address the problem head on and develop some coping strategies so they can work on fully healing. On average, patients seek regular counseling for six to twelve weeks, though they should always take as long as they need.
In addition to treating PTSD, other ongoing mental health issues that could be contributing to or worsening the situation should be addressed as well. Feelings of depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and anxiety disorders can all worsen PTSD.
There are also ways someone with PTSD can cope and care for themselves. Getting regular physical activity can help with feelings of stress. Eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep can help, as well. Spending time with trusted friends and family may help calm anxiety. You could also join a support group of other people experiencing PTSD who will be able to understand what you’re going through.