PTSD Care and Treatment

National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Day is celebrated annually on June 27th. It aims to raise awareness of posttraumatic stress disorder that may develop after a person has been exposed to one or more traumatic events. A mental health condition, PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Fear is a part of the body’s flight or fight response and people may experience a range of reactions after the trauma. Those who experience problems for a significant amount of time after the event are diagnosed with PTSD.

PTSD Care and TreatmentPTSD can affect anyone at any age. This includes combat veterans and people who have experienced or witnessed a physical or sexual assault, abuse, an accident, a disaster, or other serious events. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are not in danger. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Sometimes, learning that a friend or family member experienced trauma can cause PTSD.

Signs and Symptoms

PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. There are 4 types of PTSD symptoms.

Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms). Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. They can feel very real and scary. For example:

  • You may have nightmares.
  • You may feel like you are going through the event again. This is called a flashback.
  • You may see, hear or smell something that causes you to relive the event. This is called a trauma reminder, cue or trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing fireworks are examples of trauma reminders.

Avoiding things that remind you of the event. You may try to avoid situations or people remind you of the trauma event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event. For example:

  • You may avoid crowds because they feel dangerous.
  • You may avoid driving if you were in a car accident or if your military convoy was bombed.
  • If you were in an earthquake, you may avoid watching movies about earthquakes.
  • You may keep very busy or avoid getting help so you don’t have to think or talk about the event.

Having more negative thoughts and feelings than before the event. The way you think about yourself and others may become more negative because of the trauma. For example:

  • You may feel numb—unable to have positive or loving feelings toward other people—and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.
  • You may forget about parts of the traumatic event or not be able to talk about them.
  • You may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.
  • You may feel guilt or shame about the event, wishing you had done more to keep it from happening.

Feeling on edge or keyed up (also called hyperarousal). You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. You might suddenly become angry or irritable. For example:

  • You may have a hard time sleeping.
  • You may find it hard to concentrate.
  • You may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.
  • You might act in unhealthy ways, like smoking, abusing drugs or alcohol, or driving aggressively.

PTSD Treatments

There are different types of treatment for PTSD including trauma-focused psychotherapy and medication. This can be used individually or inPTSD Care and Treatment combination with each other. Trauma-focused psychotherapy means that the therapy focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning. These are highly effective and include:

  • Prolonged Exposure (PE) focuses on talking about your trauma repeatedly until the memories are no longer upsetting. The goal is to help you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) focuses on sounds or hand movements while talking about the trauma. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) focuses on learning skills to understand how trauma changed your feelings and thoughts. The goal is change how you think about the trauma, which in turn will change how you feel.

There are 3 medications recommended to treat PTSD symptoms. These medications can reduce PTSD symptoms. It can take a few weeks for you to notice change and your provider will work with you to manage side effects and dose. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) are types of antidepressant medication. Certain antidepressants can reduce PTSD symptoms. These medications have two names, a generic name and a brand name. There are one SNRI and two SSRIs that are recommended for PTSD: paroxetine (Paxil) – SSRI, venlafaxine (Effexor) – SNRI, and sertraline (Zoloft) – SSRI.

Resources in the Corridor

Great Life Counseling Center

Great Life Counseling Center is dedicated to supporting and guiding patients and their loved ones in the journey toward strengthened relationships and enhanced, purposeful living. Their psychologists have a wealth of knowledge and experience ready to help. Regardless of your mental health struggles, Great Life Counseling Center is the right place to help you every step of the way.

Cohen Veterans Network

Cohen Veterans Network is ready to assist you in overcoming the challenges of transitioning from active military service back to civilian life and beyond. Their clinic offers specialized, confidential therapy for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, transition challenges, and other concerns you may be facing.

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