Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Options
Psychotherapy, also known as "talk therapy," is more than talking about problems, it's about finding solutions. A good therapist will help individuals develop skills for coping with overwhelming feelings and symptoms, and help change behavior patterns that may be contributing to symptoms. Psychotherapy has been found to be more effective in the treatment of PTSD over medications. The leading treatment modalities are Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Medications and PTSD
Antidepressant medication can be beneficial in the treatment of PTSD, and antianxiety medications can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve sleep. Individual body chemistries are unique. One antidepressant medication does not fit all. One class of antidepressant may be more effective over another. Therefore, an individual may need to test several different medications before finding the one that works best. While antianxiety medications can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve sleep, be aware that benzodiazepines (a category of antianxiety medication) can lead to dependence problems, so it is important to work closely with your provider to make sure that a medication and dosage is right for you.
Mental Health Providers
Mental health care often involves different types of providers. Here is a brief description of providers you may encounter:
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Treatment from a psychiatrist often includes medications. Family doctors and nurse practitioners can also prescribe medications for the treatment of mental illness.
Psychotherapists provide talk therapy employing different techniques and interventions based on different theories. Psychotherapist must be licensed and include the following: licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), and psychologist (Phd or PsyD).
Veterans who are eligible to receive care under the Veterans Community Care program can locate a provider here: www.va.gov/opa/apps/locator/