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Part 2: How to Treat PTSD

Part 2: How to Treat PTSD

photo of a silhouette of a man standing against a sunset sky with his arms raised up in the air in triumph

Unfortunately, many people throughout their lifetime will go through a traumatic experience. It can happen to anyone and for any reason. Trauma can have a profound impact on somebody’s life and cause them to experience debilitating symptoms and cause a lot of distress and turmoil.

There is no timeline for when someone may begin experiencing trauma symptoms after a traumatic event occurs. It could be the week after, or symptoms may take months or years to develop. Even though there is no timeline for when symptoms can begin, we can say this — it doesn’t matter when it happened; anyone can heal from trauma.

In our last blog post, we talked about the signs and symptoms of PTSD. This post will focus on how PTSD or trauma can be treated.

Treatment Options For PTSD

Throughout the years there has been a significant amount of research that has gone into treating trauma. Today we have several therapies that have been proven to effectively treat trauma and PTSD. These are the evidenced based treatment options.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) is a specific form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that focuses on the interaction between thoughts and emotions as it relates to specific traumatic experiences. With the assistance of a trained clinician the individual can examine the automatic thoughts that may be reinforcing PTSD symptoms. Then the individual works on addressing these unhelpful thoughts related to the trauma through both reframing and confronting the thoughts related to the trauma through the creation of a therapeutic trauma narrative. Through this cognitive intervention and building of mastery over the traumatic event an individual is ultimately able to challenge and alter unhelpful beliefs and thoughts related to the trauma and increase overall quality of life.

photo of a silhouette of a man standing against a sunset sky with his arms raised up in the air in triumphProlonged Exposure Therapy

Like CPT, Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) is an evidenced based form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. When an individual experiences PTSD they often engage in avoidance around situational triggers of trauma such as certain people, places, and activities that prior to the trauma were meaningful and enjoyed. Prolonged exposure therapy empowers individuals to approach thoughts and memories related to the trauma, as well as specific situational triggers (e.g., public places). Prolonged exposure consists of both imaginal and in vivo exposure with the goal of lowering an individual’s anxiety response to situational triggers to improve well-being and increase contact with the present moment in their daily lives.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

This is a complex question that we get asked often, but unfortunately, we don’t have a concrete answer. As CPT and Prolonged Exposure are modularized treatment protocols the typical duration is 4-6 months. However, treatment length can vary for each individual person based on the degree and frequency of trauma experienced, as well as their current level of impairment. 

Treating trauma is complex because the way it impacts someone is complicated. It impacts someone’s mental health and affects their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It also can influence somebody’s physical health and cause symptoms such as insomnia, stomach issues, or nightmares.

At The OCD and Anxiety Center our clinicians are trained in evidenced-based therapies for PTSD. If you are struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic experience reach out today to learn how therapy can help you reclaim the life that you want to live. We are here to help.

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2805 Butterfield Road suite 120
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