Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder developed in individuals who experienced traumatic events like warfare, sexual abuse, collision or other life’s threatening events.
There are several symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder which include dreams and feelings related to the experienced traumatic event, disturbing recurring thoughts of the event, alterations in the individual’s feelings and thoughts, and an increase in the fight-or-flight response.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms vary in the length of time (usually more than a month) and with age. For instance, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms usually show less likely in children in form of distress but instead manifest through play.
Also, people with post-traumatic stress disorder are at a higher risk of harming themselves and suicide than people who do not have such disorder.
The most effective methods of treatments for people with post-traumatic stress disorder are counselling and medication. And, prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder is more effective when medication is given at early stage of the condition.
A number of different types of therapy proved useful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and can occur one-on-one or a group-based discussion to offer counselling. Antidepressants are the ultimate medication that shows promising results when treating post-traumatic stress disorder.
Management and Treatment(s)
Several forms of psychotherapy have been found to be efficacious for problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder. The basic counselling treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder include educating the patient(s) about the condition and provision of safety and support to the victim(s).
The psychotherapy approaches that show promising results include cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy and eye movement and desensitization. With regards to children in post-traumatic stress disorder, school-based therapy is of utmost importance. This is because children are very much likely to pursue or look for treatment at school because of school’s proximity and ease of therapy than at a clinic.
Cognitive behavioral therapy uses a triangular diagrammatical approach of treatment that depicts how three components namely behavior, emotions and thoughts all influence each other.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, the therapy attempts to influence or change the victim’s pattern or way of thinking on how the victim(s) feels and reacts to responsible negative emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be an effective way of managing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, victim(s) learn to identify thoughts that distress them and then learn to replace them with thoughts that are not distressing to them.
Exposure therapy is an extended type or form of behavioral cognitive therapy that helps in assisting the victim(s) who survived a trauma to re-experience traumatic events or trauma-related distressing memories and or reminders in order to facilitate the victim(s) to become habitual to the events and successful emotional processing of the traumatic memory.
In most exposure therapies, programs include both real-life exposures to trauma reminders as well as imaginal confrontation with the memories of trauma.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a post-traumatic stress disorder therapy which involves the use of eye movements to process emotional processing of memories thereby changing the victim(s) memory in order to attend to more adaptive information.
In eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, the victim(s) is instructed to make voluntary and usually rapid eye movements while the victim(s) focuses on feelings, memories and or thoughts about a certain traumatic event.
The therapist uses hand movements as instruction for the victim(s) to move their eyes to different directions. Tones and or tapping of the hands can also be used by a therapist to as instruction to initiate eye movements in victim(s).
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing combines exposure (which is the revisiting of traumatic events), working on cognitive processes as well as relaxation/self monitoring.
However, exposure by asking/instructing the victim(s) to think about a particular traumatic event or experience as a priority in treating post-traumatic stress disorder instead of talking about it is the distinguishing and most important aspect of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy.
Another effective way to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder is through exercise, sport and physical activity.
This is because such activities have a direct influence and link to individual’s psychology and physical health. This is because exercise, sport and other physical activities distract the victim(s) from disturbing memories that revisit them after traumatic events, help in building self-esteem of the victim(s) as well as having an increase in the victim(s) feeling of being in self-control again.
Therapy in children unlike adolescents and adults with regards to post-traumatic stress disorder often takes a different dimension. This is because play is proven to show promising results and an effective way of therapy in children with post-traumatic stress disorder.
This is as a result of playing linking children’s inner thoughts with their outer wider world as well as connecting real life experiences with abstract thoughts. Playing in a repetitive manner is also an effective way of receiving post-traumatic stress in children.
Hence, repetitive play is often considered a sign or symptom of detecting children with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medication with regards to post-traumatic stress disorder is not as useful as psychotherapy as many medications have not yielded effective outcome in treatment and do not have enough evidence to support their usefulness in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. However, few medications tend to show some effectiveness and these include fluoxetine, paroxetine and venlafaxine.
Therefore, post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder which treatment is more effective through counselling and use of psychotherapy measures instead of medication.
This is as a result of the psychotherapy treatments showing promising results and proven to be more effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. The psychotherapy treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
Other treatment measures include exercise, sport and physical activity as well as play (in children). Counselling unlike the psychotherapy measures uses the basis of educating the victim(s) on the experienced traumatic events as well as the provision of safety and support as means of managing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder.
For more information, reach out to us at SignatureCare Emergency Center.