The Treatment Of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

The treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder

We have all heard of post-traumatic stress disorder and know how much suffering it entails. Rape, robbery, war, and terrorist attacks are just a few examples of the kinds of events that can underlie post-traumatic stress disorder. But not only human-induced situations can be the cause of PTSD. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes, can also trigger the disorder. The question now is, how do you treat it? In this article we therefore discuss how the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder works.

The treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder: psychoeducation and breathing

If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the first thing you should do is consult a good psychologist. Cognitive-behavioral approaches are most supported by empirical research. Therefore, we recommend seeking out a qualified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.

This will begin by conducting an initial assessment, which is an essential part of understanding the patient’s problems. Next, it is important that he carries out psycho-education. He will explain to the patient what is happening in terms that the patient will understand. He should highlight the symptoms the person is experiencing and indicate why they appear, what maintains them and how they will be treated.

A woman in nature

The aim is to give the individual as much insight as possible into what is happening to them. He must understand why and how the professional will try to solve it. This is extremely important because it will help patients better adhere to their treatment. The next step is learning to relax.

By training the patient to practice abdominal breathing, you provide them with a simple and very useful tool that they will be able to use when anxiety strikes. This is extremely important, because the disorder has everything to do with anxiety. Once the patient has learned and is comfortable with this technique, it is important that it is applied continuously from now on.

The next steps in treating post-traumatic stress disorder

Aside from providing tools for that patient to use when their anxiety increases, it’s important to work on other aspects. However, these do not always have to be visible. We are talking here about thoughts and beliefs associated with the event that gave rise to the disorder. If you do not address this, the treatment is incomplete. It would just be a plaster on the wound.

That is why it is so important to teach the patient to identify his thoughts. That is, he must learn to recognize his automatic thoughts and irrational beliefs. These could be thoughts like the following:

  • What happened was my fault.
  • I will never be able to overcome it.
  • The world is a dangerous place and the event will repeat itself.

This brings us to the first step of cognitive restructuring. Then all this will be questioned through the Socratic dialogue. In this way , from session to session, the person learns to destroy the thoughts that support the disorder.

A girl walks among the rubble

Complete the treatment

To complete the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, something else needs to be added. Because people suffering from PTSD tend to avoid anything related to the dangerous situation or event, it is important to work on exposure, both in their imagination and in real life.

Exposure will help them get used to the situation and thus reduce their anxiety. They will also learn that remembering the event does not mean that they have to relive it. Just like they don’t necessarily have to lose control. At the same time, this will enable them to distinguish between the traumatic event and other, safe events.

The idea is to make them see that what happened to them is concrete and specific, not a probable or general fact. Ultimately, this will increase their sense of self-control and help them see that they are capable of managing the situation.

Finally, as with all other anxiety disorders, it is important to integrate a relapse prevention plan into the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. This last step is fundamental. It will help amplify the progress and make the patient more powerful.

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