Living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Part II

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PTSD wordle

 

This article is the follow-up to the one posted on Tuesday, in which we presented the causes and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Here, we present treatment options and prognosis for improved outcomes.

Treatment

Treatment can help prevent PTSD from developing after a trauma. A good social support system may also help protect against PTSD.

If PTSD does occur, a form of treatment called “desensitization” may be used.

  • This treatment helps reduce symptoms by encouraging you to remember the traumatic event and express your feelings about it.
  • Over time, memories of the event should become less frightening.

Support groups, where people who have had similar experiences share their feelings, may also be helpful.

People with PTSD may also have problems with:

  • Alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Related medical conditions

In most cases, these problems should be treated before trying desensitization therapy.

Medicines that act on the nervous system can help reduce anxiety and other symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can be effective in treating PTSD. Other anti-anxiety and sleep medicines may also be helpful.

Support Groups

You can get more information about post-traumatic stress disorder from the American Psychiatric Association — www.psych.org.

Expectations (prognosis)

You can increase the chance of a good outcome with:

Complications

Calling your health care provider

Although traumatic events can cause distress, not all feelings of distress are symptoms of PTSD. Talk about your feelings with friends and relatives. If your symptoms do not improve soon or are making you very upset, contact your doctor.

Seek help right away if:

  • You feel overwhelmed
  • You are thinking of hurting yourself or anybody else
  • You are unable to control your behavior
  • You have other very upsetting symptoms of PTSD

You can also contact your doctor for help with problems such as repeated upsetting thoughts, irritability, and problems with sleep.

Prevention

Research into ways to prevent PTSD is ongoing.

To see the full article and references, click here.

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