Psychological Treatments And Other Interventions For Post
Many people manage to process and come to terms with traumatic experiences with the help of their family and friends. But if someone develops post-traumatic stress disorder , psychological treatment can help relieve the symptoms.
Most people have upsetting experiences that they cant get out of their head for a long time. Not everyone needs therapy, though. Its often possible to deal with what happened without treatment. But sometimes distressing experiences are so bad that they lead to post-traumatic stress disorder . If that happens, professional help may be needed.
PTSD is treated by psychotherapists. Some have special training in trauma-focused therapy too. Younger patients go to see child psychologists instead. The treatment is usually possible on an outpatient basis . A hospital stay may be recommended if the symptoms are too severe for outpatient treatment, or if the person needs a safe space.
It is sometimes difficult for people to get the support they need. There are various reasons for this: Some are put on a very long waiting list, others reject offers of help because they no longer trust other people or because theyre ashamed of what happened and dont want to talk about it. Sometimes they dont know that they have PTSD.
Children And Young People
Trauma-focused CBT is usually recommended for children and young people with PTSD.
This normally involves a course of 6 to 12 sessions that have been adapted to suit the child’s age, circumstances and level of development.
Where appropriate, treatment includes consulting with and involving the child’s family.
Children who do not respond to trauma-focused CBT may be offered EMDR.
Background And Objectives For The Systematic Review
Studies suggest that individuals experience a broad range of traumatic events throughout their lives and that the frequency of these events may vary by the group studied, for example, civilian versus noncivilian samples. The fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines a traumatic event as an event experienced, witnessed, or confronted by a person that involves actual or threatened death, serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.1 The DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of PTSD also requires that the persons response to the event involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Traumatic events may include military combat, violent personal assault, being taken hostage, a terrorist attack, torture, natural or manmade disasters, and being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.1 The full DSM-IV-TR criteria are listed in Table 1.
You May Like: Can Stress Cause Rib Pain
Tip : Support Ptsd Treatment With A Healthy Lifestyle
The symptoms of PTSD can be hard on your body so its important to take care of yourself and develop some healthy lifestyle habits.
Take time to relax. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, massage, or yoga can activate the bodys relaxation response and ease symptoms of PTSD.
Avoid alcohol and drugs. When youre struggling with difficult emotions and traumatic memories, you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. But substance use worsens many symptoms of PTSD, interferes with treatment, and can add to problems in your relationships.
Eata healthy diet. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Omega-3s play a vital role in emotional health so incorporate foods such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and walnuts into your diet. Limit processed food, fried food, refined starches, and sugars, which can exacerbate mood swings and cause fluctuations in your energy.
Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can trigger anger, irritability, and moodiness. Aim for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual and make your bedroom as quiet, dark, and soothing as possible.
Outpatient Ptsd Rehab And Treatment Programs
For those whose schedules will not allow for an inpatient treatment program, outpatient PTSD rehab and treatment programs are a great option. These facilities are staffed by knowledgeable healthcare professionals who can help you take the lessons you learn in treatment and transfer them to life at home and work.
You May Like: Can Stress Cause Pink Eye
Is Ptsd A Permanent Disability
For some people, the thoughts or memories of past traumatic events can have serious implications for their health and functioning in their day-to-day lives, long after the danger or threat has passed. Without proper treatment and support, PTSD can cause long-term disability.
Try Yoga Or Meditation
While yoga or meditation may not provide complete relief from symptoms, researchers recommend them as additions to therapy and medication.
Yoga may help you regulate your breathing, increase your awareness of your body, and respond to changing emotions.
Meditation may help you redirect your attention to the present moment, giving you a greater sense of control over intrusive memories.
Also Check: How Overcome Stress And Depression
Clinical Prevention In Context
Studies reviewed above summarize the clinical implementation of preventive interventions that is, the provision of specialized treatment to survivors screened or formally diagnosed within a medical care model. Challenging the restricted setting and medical model, Zatzick et al. evaluated a stepped collaborative care model, which introduced care managers to address patients unique needs using intervention modalities as required . The care team repeatedly measured patients symptoms and adjusted levels of care accordingly. Results showed the feasibility and effectiveness of the method with reduced PTSD symptoms in the intervention group . The need-based, multi-method model can be seen as an alternative to a single clinical intervention. It is likely a valuable component in a stepwise approach to early interventions, in which the heavy artillery of full-fledged clinical interventions might be offered to those who fail to respond to earlier, cheaper, less demanding interventions in the need-based approach. By extension, it is generally true that current research has been limited to implementing single protocols and, as such, did not explore a sequential implementation of time-appropriate interventions. Such information should be sought and researched actively.
Why Don’t You Hear Much About Medications As A Treatment For Ptsd
Most people who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and enter treatment will opt for psychotherapy, because that’s what they’ll be offered based on current evidence.
This usually means “talk therapy”, where a therapist and a trauma survivor with PTSD work on healing, in various ways, by talking about the symptoms of PTSD and how to manage them, the trauma, and other underlying issues.
- Prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD
- Cognitive therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy EMDR for short is another kind of psychotherapy that really doesn’t involve much talking, however, and that has been shown to have some promise.
Don’t Miss: How Long Do Stress Migraines Last
Risks Of Approving Psilocybin To Treat Ptsd
The strongest argument against the use of psilocybin for PTSD is the chance of a bad trip, a scary or anxiety-inducing experience when a patient feels the psychoactive effects of the drug. This usually happens when the patient feels unsafe or uncomfortable in some way. A bad trip has the potential to mentally scar the individual who experiences it.
People who take psychedelic drugs have also reported experiencing flashbacks, or feeling as if they are experiencing a trip on a psychedelic drug when they are not. This can be dangerous in certain situations, like when operating a motor vehicle. Also, while it has not been shown that psychedelic drugs cause any serious health concerns, there are physical effects of psychedelic drug use that can be dangerous. These effects include an increase in blood pressure, an increase in body temperature, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and muscular issues. There are also studies that show that patients do not experience any strong positive effects from psilocybin use.
For psilocybin to be approved for this use, it will need to be tested in clinical trials. There are many potential dangers that may arise during clinical trials of new drugs. For example, how can a patient who has never taken a psychedelic drug consent to taking it if they dont know the ways in which it could affect them? This can cause problems from a legal perspective, especially concerning patient safety and protection.
Will Ptsd Ever Go Away
So, does PTSD ever go away? No, but with effective evidence-based treatment, symptoms can be managed well and can remain dormant for years, even decades. But because the trauma that evokes the symptoms will never go away, there is a possibility for those symptoms to be triggered again in the future.
Read Also: How To Help Dogs With Stress
Benefits Of Approving Psilocybin To Treat Ptsd
Supporters of using psychedelic drugs to help patients lessen their anxiety feel strongly that these drugs should be made available in a safe and supportive medical setting. In Dr. Rosss study, the majority of participants reported having a positive experience that helped them feel less afraid. If these drugs can have such a success rate, then what could possibly be the reason for them not being legal?
Drugs can be either chemically or psychologically addictive. When the cells in a persons body cannot function without a certain drug, that person is chemically addicted to the drug. In contrast, when someone is psychologically addicted to a drug, they think that they desperately need it, but their body doesnt actually physically need it to function. Psilocybin is not chemically addictive like drugs such as nicotine and is also not known to have strong negative effects.
Utilitarianism is a doctrine used in ethics that says that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct. When a drug is in the process of being approved, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration uses this doctrine to determine whether it will lead to the greatest overall happiness. Supporters believe that because the drug is not that bad for you and has shown to have positive effects, the good definitely outweighs the bad.
References And Further Reading
Carroll A. Can psychedelics be therapy? Allow research to find out. The New York Times. July 17, 2017.
Hudenko W. The relationship between PTSD and suicide. PTSD: National Center for PTSD. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. March 28, 2017.
Ross S Schmidt BL. Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized controlled trial. J Psychopharmacol. 2016. DOI .
Sessa B. Turn on and tune in to evidence-based psychedelic research. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015. DOI.
Tupper KW Johnson MW. Psychedelic medicine: A re-emerging therapeutic paradigm. CMAJ. 2015. DOI .
Read Also: What Are The Signs Of Stress
Next Steps For Ptsd Research
In the last decade, progress in research on the mental and biological foundations of PTSD has lead scientists to focus on better understanding the underlying causes of why people experience a range of reactions to trauma.
- NIMH-funded researchers are exploring trauma patients in acute care settings to better understand the changes that occur in individuals whose symptoms improve naturally.
- Other research is looking at how fear memories are affected by learning, changes in the body, or even sleep.
- Research on preventing the development of PTSD soon after trauma exposure is also under way.
- Other research is attempting to identify what factors determine whether someone with PTSD will respond well to one type of intervention or another, aiming to develop more personalized, effective, and efficient treatments.
- As gene research and brain imaging technologies continue to improve, scientists are more likely to be able to pinpoint when and where in the brain PTSD begins. This understanding may then lead to better targeted treatments to suit each persons own needs or even prevent the disorder before it causes harm.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ptsd
PTSD symptoms vary from person to person. Still, everyone with PTSD experiences one or more of the following:
- Avoiding things: You may avoid people or situations that remind you of the event. Examples include friends you met in the military service, the part of town where you experienced the trauma, or crowds in general. Some people with PTSD try to stay so busy that they dont think about the event.
- Being on edge: The disorder can make it hard for you to relax or enjoy the things you used to. You may feel jittery or anxious. Maybe youre easily startled or always expect something bad to happen. You also may have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
- Having negative thoughts and feelings: PTSD can make you feel negative, angry, sad, distrustful, guilty, or numb.
- Reliving or re-experiencing the traumatic event: This can take the form of flashbacks or dreams. Perhaps a noise like a car backfiring or seeing something similar will trigger sudden, unwelcome memories.
Can Psilocybin Help Treat Ptsd
While therapy, antidepressants, and antipsychotics help many patients, these methods often fall short. Studies have suggested that antidepressants do not work well for people who have had multiple traumas over the course of years or chronic PTSD. A new study found that the antipsychotic risperidone worked no better than a placebo in alleviating typical PTSD symptoms in patients who had the disorder long-term or who continued to experience symptoms after being treated with antidepressants.
Because these drugs can also cause intolerable side effects, many patients are left to experience PTSD with no sign of relief. Many of these patients turn to substance abuse, develop anger management issues, or commit suicide. A study analyzing data from the National Comorbidity Survey showed that out of six anxiety diagnoses, PTSD was significantly associated with suicide attempts.
Stephen Ross, MD, a psychiatrist at NYU Langone, conducted a study on terminally ill cancer patients , and found that one-time treatment with psilocybin very quickly brought relief from distress that had lasted more than 6 months in 80 percent of study subjects.
Getting Professional Help For Ptsd
If you suspect that you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder, its important to seek help right away. The sooner PTSD is treated, the easier it is to overcome. If youre reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness, and the only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as a part of your past. This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.
Its only natural to want to avoid painful memories and feelings. But if you try to numb yourself and push your memories away, PTSD will only get worse. You cant escape your emotions completelythey emerge under stress or whenever you let down your guardand trying to do so is exhausting. The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function, and the quality of your life.
Why you should seek help for PTSD
Early treatment is better. Symptoms of PTSD may get worse. Dealing with them now might help stop them from getting worse in the future. Finding out more about what treatments work, where to look for help, and what kind of questions to ask can make it easier to get help and lead to better outcomes.
PTSD symptoms can change family life. PTSD symptoms can get in the way of your family life. You may find that you pull away from loved ones, are not able to get along with people, or that you are angry or even violent. Getting help for your PTSD can help improve your family life.
Also Check: Does Stress Cause Stomach Ulcers
Tip : Reach Out To Others For Support
PTSD can make you feel disconnected from others. You may be tempted to withdraw from social activities and your loved ones. But its important to stay connected to life and the people who care about you. You dont have to talk about the trauma if you dont want to, but the caring support and companionship of others is vital to your recovery. Reach out to someone you can connect with for an uninterrupted period of time, someone who will listen when you want to talk without judging, criticizing, or continually getting distracted. That person may be your significant other, a family member, a friend, or a professional therapist. Or you could try:
Volunteering your time or reaching out to a friend in need. This is not only a great way to connect to others, but can also help you reclaim your sense of control.
Joining a PTSD support group. This can help you feel less isolated and alone and also provide invaluable information on how to cope with symptoms and work towards recovery.
Need to talk to someone?
Get affordable online counseling from BetterHelp or visit HelpGuides directory for free helplines and crisis resources. HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provided link. Learn more.
Criterion : Intrusion Symptoms
Intrusive symptoms include thoughts or memories that enter the afflicted individuals mind involuntarily.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, the individual must experience at least one of these intrusion symptoms, such as nightmares, flashbacks, negative emotional and physical reactions to thoughts, places, or things relating to the traumatic event, and reoccurring negative thoughts about the event that the individual cant control.
You May Like: Why Does School Make Me So Stressed
Ptsd In Military Veterans
For all too many veterans, returning from military service means coping with symptoms of PTSD. You may have a hard time readjusting to life out of the military. Or you may constantly feel on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding. But its important to know that youre not alone and there are plenty of ways you can deal with nightmares and flashbacks, cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, and regain your sense of control.