Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Mental Health Outpatient Treatment for Adults with PTSD

According to the National Center for PTSD:

  • About 6 out of 100 people (6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives
  • About 5 out of 100 adults (or 5%) in the U.S. has PTSD in any given year
  • In 2020, about 13 million Americans had PTSD
  • About 8 of 100 women (or 8%) will have PTSD at some point in their life
  • 4 of 100 men (or 4%) will have PTSD at some point in their life
  • Veterans are more likely to have PTSD than civilians

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after an individual experiences a traumatic event, such as abuse, a car accident, combat during war, assault or witnessing a traumatic event happen to someone else. Not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD. When a person’s fight-or-flight response stays consistently activated for more than a month after a traumatic event and interferes with daily life, this may require professional intervention.

PTSD may co-occur with other mental health disorders and/or substance use disorders.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Flashbacks or nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Intrusive thoughts or memories related to the event
  • Avoidance of people or situations that are reminders of what happened
  • Irritability or anger
  • Feelings of fear and anxiety
  • Feeling detached from friends and family
  • Difficulty engaging in daily tasks
  • Feeling on edge
  • Guilt and/or negative beliefs about oneself
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation

Treatment for PTSD

The most effective treatment for PTSD is usually a combination of trauma-informed interventions. These may consist of:

  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy involves several sessions over a period of time with a mental health professional. This process helps identify and change emotions, thoughts and behaviors related to the traumatic event. There are many psychotherapy modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and more. Therapy can include individual, group and/or family therapy.
  • Medication: Antidepressants are a prescription medicine that affect brain chemistry. Doctors may prescribe these or anti-anxiety medication to help someone with PTSD while they also attend therapy. There are several different types of antidepressants, and it may take time to figure out the one the most effective one for each client. Some antidepressants have side effects, which often improve with time. If they don’t, talk to your healthcare provider about trying a different medication or pursuing a different treatment option.
  • Holistic therapies: Holistic therapies can be used in tandem with any other treatment methods. These may include yoga, mindfulness and meditation practices, equine therapy, massage and more.

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