Psychotherapy For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Psychotherapy involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. Talk therapy treatment for post traumatic stress disorder usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but it can last longer. Research shows that support from family and friends can be an important part of recovery.
Many types of psychotherapy can help people with post traumatic stress disorder . Some types target the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder directly. Other therapies focus on social, family, or job-related problems. The doctor or therapist may combine different therapies depending on each persons needs.
Effective psychotherapies tend to emphasize a few key components, including education about symptoms, teaching skills to help identify the triggers of symptoms, and skills to manage the symptoms. One helpful form of therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can include:
Your therapist can help you develop stress management skills to help you better handle stressful situations and cope with stress in your life.
You may try individual therapy, group therapy or both. Group therapy can offer a way to connect with others going through similar experiences.
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Why Do Some People Develop Ptsd And Other Dont
As much as science and research has continued to grow in the area, its still not clear why some people develop PTSD, whilst others whove been in a similar situation dont develop the condition. We do however, know that anyone can develop PTSD, but some people are at greater risk.
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for the development of PTSD following a trauma fall into three categories: pre-trauma, peri-trauma and post-trauma factors.
- Pre-trauma factors can include age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, IQ levels, prior mental health issues, personality type and neurobiological and genetic factors .
- Peri-trauma factors can include the duration/severity of trauma experience, fear of death, assaultive trauma, physical injury, and the perception that the trauma has ended.
- Post-trauma factors can include access to needed resources, high heart rate, financial stress, pain severity, peri-traumatic disassociation, disability, social support, specific cognitive patterns, and physical activity.
Are Some People More At Risk Of Ptsd
Some factors may make you more vulnerable to developing PTSD, or may make the problems you experience more severe, including:
I was diagnosed by my GP with PTSD a few weeks after the death of my father who died very suddenly, following a family outing to the local pub for lunch. He collapsed in front of us and we had to administer CPR at the scene while waiting for the ambulance. He died later on the way to hospital.
Anyone can experience traumatic events, but you may be particularly likely to have experienced trauma if you:
- work in a high-risk occupation, such as the emergency services or armed forces
- are a refugee or asylum seeker
- were taken into foster care.
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What Can I Do If Im Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
How can I speak to my doctor about my treatment options?
You can speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you arent happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you arent given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it isnt suitable for you.
Whats a second opinion?
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
What is advocacy?
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. NHS complaints advocates can help you if you want to complain about the NHS.
How Is Ptsd Diagnosed In A Child
Not every child or teen who goes through a trauma gets PTSD. PTSD is diagnosed only if symptoms keep happening for more than 1 month and are negatively affecting the childs life and how he or she functions. For those with PTSD, symptoms most often start within 3 months after the traumatic event. But they can also start months or years later.
A child psychiatrist or mental health expert can diagnose PTSD. He or she will do a mental health evaluation.
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How Is Ptsd Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
PTSD can be treated. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important. It can ease symptoms and enhance your childs normal development. It can also improve your childs quality of life.
Treatment may include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy. A child learns skills to handle his or her anxiety and to master the situation that led to the PTSD.
Medicines for depression or anxiety. These may help some children feel calmer.
Recovery from PTSD varies. Some children recover within 6 months. Others have symptoms that last much longer. Recovery depends on the childs inner strengths, coping skills, and ability to bounce back. It is also affected by the level of family support. Parents play a vital role in treatment.
Do Children React Differently Than Adults
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Symptoms sometimes seen in very young children , these symptoms can include:
- Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
- Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult
Older children and teens are more likely to show symptoms similar to those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
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What Are The Treatments For Post
The main treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, medicines, or both. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. If you have PTSD, you need to work with a mental health professional to find the best treatment for your symptoms.:
- Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, which can teach you about your symptoms. You will learn how to identify what triggers them and how to manage them. There are different types of talk therapy for PTSD.
- Medicines can help with the symptoms of PTSD. Antidepressants may help control symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Other medicines can help with sleep problems and nightmares.
How Does Therapy Help
Trauma therapy gives kids a way to safely share their feelings, tell their story, and get support.
In therapy, kids learn coping and calming skills to help them deal with anxiety they feel after a trauma. This makes it easier to talk about what theyve been through.
Through therapy, kids learn to adjust some of their thoughts about the trauma. They learn to let go of any guilt or shame about what happened to them. Slowly, they learn to face things they used to avoid.
Therapy helps children gain courage and confidence. Kids use their strengths to cope.
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Ptsd: National Center For Ptsd
Available en Español
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental health problem. PTSD can only develop after you go through or see a life-threatening event. It’s normal to have stress reactions to these types of events, and most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. Learn about PTSD symptoms and treatments to help you get better.
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It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after a traumatic event . At first, it may be hard to do daily activities you are used to doing, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later, or they may come and go over time.
If it’s been longer than a few months and thoughts and feelings from the trauma are upsetting you or causing problems in your life, you may have PTSD.
How I Knew I Had PTSD
When you have PTSD, the world feels unsafe. You may have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping. You may also try to avoid things that remind you of your traumaeven things you used to enjoy.
Arousal And Reactivity Symptoms Include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
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Allergies May Flare Up Or You May Develop New Ones
Just over 60% of your immune system is located in your digestive system. If your digestive tract is full of inflammation from increased cortisol levels, your immune function will be severely compromised. An Ohio State University study found an increase in allergy flare ups based on this. The founder of PTSD UK, Jacqui, developed a dairy allergy during the peak of her PTSD, It was obviously something that Id always had, but it wasnt enough of an issue to show itself. During my worst times of PTSD I couldnt have any dairy products without having an allergic reaction.
As the extra cortisol from PTSD surges through your bloodstream, it dulls your bodys defences and can also potentially turn things like previously acceptable soaps and creams into irritants triggering skin issues like eczema flare-ups or other sensitivities and allergies.
The Relationship between Traumatic Stress, PTSD and Cortisol By Eileen Delaney, PhD, Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control,
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Information For Carers Friends And Relatives
If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who lives with PTSD, you can get support.
How can I get support?
You can do the following.
- Speak to your GP about talking therapies and medication for yourself.
- Speak to your relatives mental health team about a carers assessment or ask for one from your local social services.
- Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
- Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
What is a carers assessment?A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role. You might be able to get support from social services.
You can find out more about Carers assessment Under the Care Act 2014 by clicking here.
How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. You can find all of our peer support groups here: www.rethink.org/help-in-your-area/support-groups/.
You can look on the following websites:
How can I support the person I care for?
You can do the following.
You can find out more about:
- Supporting someone with a mental illness by clicking here.
- Responding to unusual thoughts and behaviours by clicking here.
- Worried about someones mental health by clicking here.
- Stress How to cope by clicking here.
You can find out more about:
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Beyond Treatment: How Can I Help Myself
It may be very hard to take that first step to help yourself. It is important to realize that although it may take some time, with treatment, you can get better. If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your family doctor. You can also check NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses page or search online for mental health providers, social services, hotlines, or physicians for phone numbers and addresses. An emergency room doctor can also provide temporary help and can tell you where and how to get further help.
To help yourself while in treatment:
- Talk with your doctor about treatment options
- Engage in mild physical activity or exercise to help reduce stress
- Set realistic goals for yourself
- Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can
- Try to spend time with other people, and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Tell others about things that may trigger symptoms.
- Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately
- Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people
Caring for yourself and others is especially important when large numbers of people are exposed to traumatic events .
Fight Flight Or Freeze
When a traumatic event occurs, your body releases large amounts of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine , and norepinephrine .
This is known as a state of fight-or-flight response, your bodys way of preparing you for an attack while simultaneously dulling your senses and any potential pain.
Researchers now know that freeze is another possible response.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Post
There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way. The types are:
- Re-experiencing symptoms, where something reminds you of the trauma and you feel that fear again. Examples include
- Flashbacks, which cause you to feel like you are going through the event again
- Frightening thoughts
The symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event. But sometimes they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.
What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In Children
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental health problem. It can affect people of all ages. A child with PTSD keeps having scary thoughts and memories of a past event. He or she finds the event terrifying, either physically or emotionally.
The symptoms of PTSD may start soon after a stressful event. Or they may not happen for 6 months or longer. Some children with PTSD have long-term effects. They may feel emotionally numb for a very long time. PTSD in children often becomes a long-term problem.
PTSD may be accompanied by:
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Emotional And Psychological Trauma
If youve experienced an extremely stressful eventor series of eventsthats left you feeling helpless and emotionally out of control, you may have been traumatized. Psychological trauma often has its roots in childhood, but any event that shatters your sense of safety can leave you feeling traumatized, whether its an accident, injury, the sudden death of a loved one, bullying, domestic abuse, or a deeply humiliating experience. Whether the trauma happened years ago or yesterday, you can get over the pain, feel safe again, and move on with your life.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Ptsd
Most kids and teens with PTSD will:
- have upsetting thoughts of the trauma
- have bad dream or sleep problems
- have bad memories, called flashbacks, that make it seem like the trauma is still happening
- avoid things that remind them of the trauma
- be more easily startled, scared, or anxious
- feel more moody, sad, angry, or not enjoy things as before
- not remember some parts of what happened
Younger children may show more fearful and regressive behaviors They may re-enact the trauma through play.
When symptoms like these happen in the first days and weeks after the trauma, it may be called an acute stress reaction. Doctors diagnose PTSD when symptoms last longer than a month.
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Support Is Important For Recovery
Many people experience some of the symptoms of PTSD in the first two weeks after a traumatic event, but most recover with the help of family and friends. For this reason, for a diagnosis of PTSD is not made until a month after the event. Treatment does not usually start for at least two or more weeks after a traumatic experience. However if the event is very distressing and emotions and reactions are intense, it is advisable to seek help as early as possible to understand what is happening and help recovery to start.
It is important during the first few days and weeks after a traumatic event to get whatever help is needed. This may include accessing information, people and resources that can help you to recover. Support from family and friends may be all that is needed. Otherwise, a doctor is the best place to start to get further help.