Four percent of the Unites States population suffers from the effects of post traumatic stress disorder every year. This percentage translates into an alarmingly high number that does not even take into account the numbers of people in other countries who suffer from the same disorder. Clearly, post traumatic stress disorder deserves research and study to determine what techniques and medication can be used to treat sufferers. Over the years, doctors have done just that and come up with various medications and forms of psychotherapy that are designed to help people with post traumatic stress disorder.
A treatment’s effectiveness depends on the victim’s age, whether the events were caused by human forces or by natural forces, and whether the event was caused intentionally or by accident. Medication is frequently used in conjunction with therapy because of the strong nature of some patient’s reactions. This allows patients who could not undergo therapy to participate via the soothing effects and relief that the medication provides.
Most medications for post traumatic stress disorder are classified as antidepressants that have serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Therapy that occurs directly after the traumatic events seems to have a larger effect than therapy that occurs years after the events.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This form of therapy requires that patients attend a therapy session with a counselor for approximately one to three hours per week. This treatment is based on the theory that many people who suffer from anxiety, due to post traumatic stress, fall into a cycle that feeds on itself to produce even more anxiety.
This type of therapy relies on the belief that many people feel increased heart rate or heavy breathing when they experience stimuli that cause unpleasant memories to surface. The patient then begins to feel even more anxiety based on the physical responses they are having and as the cycle continues, the patient may end up in an all out panic attack. This type of therapy focuses on how a person can overcome their symptoms rather than rehashing the past events that caused the illness.
Therapists often teach their patients breathing techniques that will allow the patient to calm themselves in the event of a panic attack and often, the patient and therapist confront the patient’s fears by going to certain places or engaging in specific activities that the patient has been avoiding.