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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops after a terrifying experience involving physical harm or the threat of physical harm. A person who develops PTSD may have been harmed directly, is aware of harm that happened to a loved one, or witnessed firsthand a harmful event to loved one or stranger. 

People with PTSD may startle easily, become emotionally numb (especially in relation to people with whom they used to be close), lose interest in things they used to enjoy, have trouble feeling affection, be irritable, become more aggressive, or even become violent. They avoid situations that remind them of the disturbing incident, and anniversaries of the incident are often very difficult.

PTSD symptoms are usually worse if the triggering event was deliberately initiated by another person, such as a mugging or kidnapping. Most people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in their thoughts during the day and in nightmares when they sleep. These are called flashbacks. Flashbacks may consist of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, and are often triggered by ordinary occurrences, such as a door slamming or a car backfiring on the street. A person having a flashback may lose touch with reality and believe that the traumatic incident is happening all over again.

Treatment recommendations include a combination of Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) and Emotional Processing Theory. These therapeutic procedures represent the most empirically validated treatment for PTSD. Following a traumatic event, an individual may begin to make erroneous associations from the incident which may lead to various avoidance. It is critical that theses triggers be challenged, and through in-vivo and imaginary exposures, this goal can be achieved. Medication can also play a useful role in conjunction with the treatments mentioned above to help ease symptoms during treatment.

Other Common Anxiety Disorders

It is not uncommon for an individual to suffer from multiple anxiety disorders. Treating co-occurring conditions simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from anxiety.

The Gateway Institute is here to support you in getting the help that you need.

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