a June PTSD Awareness Month - Part 3: Treatment - Wellness and Wisdom

June PTSD Awareness Month - Part 3: Treatment

June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month: Learn the facts, signs and symptoms, effective treatments, and resources

PTSD Treatment

The main treatments for people with PTSD include:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy (“talk” therapy)
  • Both medication with psychotherapy

PTSD affects everyone differently, so it is important to have an individualized treatment by a licensed mental health provider who specializes and is experienced with PTSD.

Medications

The most studied medications for treating PTSD include antidepressants, which may help control PTSD symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. Antidepressants and other medications may be prescribed along with psychotherapy. Other medications may be helpful for specific PTSD symptoms. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or medication combination, as well as the right dose.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” involves talking with a mental health professional to help manage and find relief from PTSD symptoms. Some therapies may also focus on social, family, or job-related problems that add to PTSD symptoms. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group and can be short-term, usually lasting from 6 to 12 weeks, or longer-term, occurring over years. Additionally, research shows that support from family and friends can be an important part of recovery.

Different types of psychotherapy can help people suffering from PTSD. PTSD treatment may involve a combination of different therapies depending on each person’s needs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidenced-based treatment for PTSD and includes techniques like exposure therapy, which includes safely approaching feared triggers as a means to overcome them and as a way to learn to cope with difficult emotions, and cognitive restructuring, which includes learning how to make sense of the trauma and look at what happened in a realistic way. Newer therapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), are becoming more well-researched and are showing promising data in their effectiveness at treating PTSD.

Effective psychotherapies tend to emphasize a few key components, including:

  • Education about PTSD symptoms
  • Teaching skills to help identify the triggers of PTSD symptoms
  • Teaching skills to manage PTSD symptoms (for example, relaxation techniques, emotion regulation skills)
  • Returning to activities enjoyed before developing PTSD

Where to go for more information and help

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 (text 838255) or Confidential Veterans Chat with a counselor
  • Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAIN) (24 Hours): 800.656.4673
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.799.7233
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line: 800.622.2255
  • MedlinePlus offers information in English and en EspaƱol .
  • The National Center for PTSD, part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has a website with targeted information for anyone interested in PTSD (including veterans, family, and friends) and for professional researchers and health care providers. The site also offers videos and information about an online app called PTSD Coach.
  • Clinician’s Guide to Medications for PTSD : This material was developed for researchers, providers and helpers by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

To learn more, view Part 1: Learn More and Part 2: Signs & Symptoms.

References
  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2016, Feb.) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

Written by Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC and Therapist at Sage Recovery and Wellness Center

Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas with a Master of Arts degree in Health Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Texas State University. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavioral Therapies and takes a holistic approach to helping others, which considers biological, psychological, environmental, and cultural aspects of their lives.

Chelsea has experience working with individuals, families, and groups at outpatient and inpatient levels of care. Her clinical experience has been in helping individuals with a wide range of issues, including anxiety, depression, substance use, eating disorders, self-harm behaviors, stress management, and more. Chelsea specializes in treating eating disorders and eating disorder dual diagnoses. She began her experience working with eating disorders as a Practicum Student Therapist at the Eating Disorder Center at San Antonio and Hill Country Recovery Center (HCRC). After earning her Masters degree, Chelsea was then a therapist at HCRC, where she conducted individual and family therapy and facilitated the Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program for Eating Disorders. Chelsea also has experience working at Austin Oaks Hospital, where she has served as an inpatient and outpatient therapist and the Interim Director of Outpatient Services. At Sage, Chelsea facilitates the 7-week Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program and Adolescent DBT Skills Group, and conducts individual and family therapy.

Chelsea is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Training from Behavioral Tech, LLC. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Austin Eating Disorder Specialists group and an active supporter of the National Eating Disorder Association and the Binge Eating Disorder Association.

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