Treatment for PTSD: A Look at the Many Treatment Options
Post-Traumatic stress disorder is a difficult condition affecting anyone who has experienced or witnessed traumatic events. However, there are many options available for people seeking treatment for PTSD and looking to find relief from their symptoms.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as Treatment for PTSD
Also known as CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a therapeutic approach that can be a helpful treatment for PTSD. The process helps you create more awareness of the condition and the ability to express what you are feeling. This is done with a therapist who can ask questions and work with you to question the thinking that causes symptoms. The approach emphasizes collaboration and problem-solving in order to find relief.
Using Hypnosis as Treatment for PTSD
Another technique available for PTSD is hypnosis. Unlike the kind of hypnosis you’d see at a carnival, hypnosis employed by a trained therapist can be a helpful tool. Instead of being “controlled” like in a sideshow, therapeutic hypnosis allows you to be more open to ideas and suggestions for treatment. The National Institutes of Health has found that hypnosis is helpful for treating people. Anyone- from those who suffered abuse as children to Vietnam Veterans- may be helped.
Using Exposure Therapy as Treatment for PTSD
Exposure therapy has also been found to be helpful for treating PTSD. The Veterans Administration notes:
- Exposure therapy can help you to access traumatic memories and to have less fear.
- Exposure therapy can help you to change how you react to these memories.
- Exposure therapy is an opportunity to practice calming techniques when you are reliving traumatic memories.
The benefits of exposure therapy are not only helpful to people who have experienced combat, they can also help anyone who has witnessed or experienced other kinds of trauma in their lives.
Using Virtual Reality as Treatment for PTSD
One of the new tools for the treatment of PTSD has been virtual reality, which is used as a form of exposure therapy. Developed to treat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, virtual reality allows the user to see typical scenes from a war zone, and experience combat simulations. According to PBS’s NOVA, virtual reality tool allows you to
- See scenes such as being a military Humvee on a road, with other vehicles and people.
- Hear sounds that you would hear in combat.
- Smell certain scents. The technology can even recreate smells that you find in a war zone.
The results show that as you experience the simulation, your mind begins to function like it did back in those situations. This allows you to process the emotions you are feeling and develop a different response, which can be helpful when the mind experiences a flashback or trigger in real life. Although the technology was initially developed for the military, it is finding applications for civilians, such as helping those struggling with addiction.
Using EMDR as Treatment for PTSD
Although research is still being conducted, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) may show promise as a treatment for PTSD. Conducted with a therapist, you
- Are asked questions about your issues and past events.
- Use self-soothing techniques.
- Process memories without using eye movements.
The therapist may use taps or different tones during this process. According to Scientific American, the idea is that there may be a connection between eye movements and the severity of traumatic memories. Research has found that Bi-Lateral Stimulation may be the effective component of this treatment method, which is why tapping, different tones and/or eye movements will be effective.
Using Group Therapy as Treatment for PTSD
The Veterans Administration says that group therapy can help as a treatment for PTSD by:
Allowing people the space to talk with others about their traumas.
Helping you to become more comfortable with speaking about it.
Creating relationships with others who have been through similar experiences.
People who struggle with PTSD have many options available to help in their treatment. An experienced therapist can combine these methods according to the needs of the person with whom they are working.
Whether it is through traditional methods, such as talk-therapy to new tools like virtual reality and EMDR, those who have been through trauma can access more resources for treatment, and live fuller lives.
Questions, Concerns, Thoughts?
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