Most people have or will experience at least one traumatic event. A traumatic event is any occurrence that threatens our sense of safety, whether real or perceived and can have a lasting emotional and psychological impact. It is normal to think, act, and feel differently following a traumatic event. Typically, these effects subside after a short time, as the details of the trauma begin to fade. However, if the impacts of trauma persist for several months, remain painfully upsetting, or interfere with your functioning, you can benefit from a PTSD treatment program.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop shortly after experiencing trauma or surface later when something triggers it. PTSD is highly responsive to treatment. However, if left untreated, it can have devastating effects. At Harmony Hills, we know that PTSD does not occur in a vacuum but affects the lives of everyone it touches. Reach out to us at 855.494.0357 to learn more about the benefits of PTSD treatment, including how to support a loved one with PTSD.
Treatment Options for PTSD
PTSD is a complex anxiety disorder that can develop after witnessing or directly experiencing a traumatic event. Not everyone who undergoes trauma develops PTSD. Indeed, even when individuals share the same trauma, some may develop PTSD while others do not. Research indicates that between 10 and 20 percent of those who experience trauma will develop PTSD.
If you have PTSD or live with someone who does, life can feel intense, overwhelming, unpredictable, and emotionally exhausting because triggers can be everywhere. Triggers can be internal or external. Internal triggers typically include thoughts and feelings, while external ones can be endless, from a smell to a particular place and anything in between.
PTSD is highly responsive to treatment, particularly psychotherapy, neurological therapies, medication, and the utilization of healthy coping skills. Following is a closer look at some of the best treatment options for PTSD:
- Cognitive processing therapy – CPT is based on the notion that one did not fully process what happened immediately following a traumatic event, resulting in unhealthy conclusions about it. CPT identifies and restructures maladaptive conclusions in healthy ways.
- Prolonged exposure therapy – Many develop an unrealistic fear response following a trauma. This therapy equips you with coping skills to manage fears healthily. It is progressive so that it begins with your most minor fears and works up to more intense ones directly related to the trauma.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – EMDR use bilateral stimulations, mainly repetitive eye movements, to interrupt and re-process trauma-related memories.
- Stress inoculation training – SIT focuses on how you manage the stress of your trauma rather than the trauma itself. Techniques include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and massage.
- Medications – The American Psychological Association (APA) identifies four main selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat PTSD: Paxil, Prozac, Effexor, and Zoloft.
Tips for Helping a Loved One with PTSD
If your friend, family member, or romantic partner has PTSD, it also impacts your life. Untreated PTSD can take a heavy toll on family life and relationships. The symptoms of PTSD can result in job loss, drug or alcohol abuse, financial stress, legal problems, and other issues that impact the entire family.
Individuals with PTSD can be distant, volatile, irritable, depressed, anxious, mistrustful, and more. Their moods can be unpredictable, making those around them feel like they are constantly walking on eggshells. Following are tips for helping your loved one with PTSD:
- Learn what makes them feel safe and what triggers their symptoms
- Keep lines of communication open and be a good listener
- Be patient and non-judgemental
- Don’t pressure your loved one into talking
- Educated yourself about PTSD and manage your stress
- Express your commitment to your relationship
- Create routines and keep your promises
- Encourage and support professional PTSD treatment
Your loved one’s PTSD may lead to your having to take on more daily responsibilities, household tasks, and financial burdens. It is critical to avoid letting your loved one’s PTSD dominate your life. One of the best ways to help your loved one is to ensure that you are taking care of yourself by tending to your physical, mental, and emotional needs, setting boundaries, making time for yourself, and asking for support from others.
Contact Harmony Hills for More Information on How to Help Someone with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
At Harmony Hills, we believe that everyone can overcome the trauma that leads to PTSD and other mental health issues. However, we cannot overstate the importance of a professional PTSD treatment program for successful recovery. Because we know that PTSD does not occur in a vacuum, we provide comprehensive family therapy. Call 855.494.0357 for more information on how to help a loved one with PTSD.