The main treatments for PTSD are psychotherapy, medications, or both. An experienced mental health professional can help people find a treatment plan that is best for the individual, based on their symptoms and needs.
Some people with PTSD could be living through an ongoing trauma, such as an abusive relationship. In this instance, treatment is usually most effective when it addresses both the traumatic situation and the symptoms.
The types of treatment for PTSD:
- Medications: The most studied type of medication for treating PTSD is a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRIs). These types of medications may help control PTSD symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb. Examples of these medications are Lexapro, Prozac, & Paxil.
- Psychotherapy: Sometimes called "talk therapy", it can provide support, education, and guidance to people with PTSD. Psychotherapy is used to help people identify and change troubling emotions, thought, and behaviors. One common type of psychotherapy is called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can also include exposure therapy, which helps people learn to manage their fear by slowly exposing them in a safe way, to the trauma they experienced. As a part of this exposure therapy, the person may think or write about the trauma or visit the place where it happened. Also, a part of CBT is cognitive restructuring, which helps people with PTSD make sense of the event. Cognitive restructuring can help people with PTSD think about what happened in a realistic way.
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): A fairly new treatment that can reduce PTSD symptoms. It involves rapid eye moments while recalling the traumatic event.