Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Post about PTSD Treatment

Drug Treatments & Alternatives for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The most common psychotherapy and prescription treatments for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that often develops following a traumatic event involving the threat of your personal safety. It can manifest itself in anyone, at any age, but typically develops following horrific events—such as a car crash or a natural disaster—or after a traumatic injury or threat of one’s safety—take an ongoing danger such as child abuse or even war.

The National Institute of Mental Health links PTSD with numerous symptoms, including:

• Flashbacks
• Bad dreams
• Frightening thoughts
• Feelings of guilt
• Worry/anxiety
• Depression
• Fear avoidance behavior
• Memory problems
• Loss of interest in social activities
• Persistent feelings of stress and tension
• Irritability
• Sleeplessness or insomnia

Common drug treatments for PTSD



The National Center for Biotechnology Information recommends PTSD treatment to help sufferers regain a sense of control as well as coping mechanisms should the symptoms listed above resurface. PTSD treatment can include medicinal and behavioral treatments—such as psychotherapy. However, oftentimes, if medications and therapy are combined, PTSD patients learn to not only cope better with traumatic past events, but with future stressors as well.

Part of the treatment of PTSD symptoms includes a series of medications prescribed by a doctor, including:

Antipsychotics – A short-term dose of Antipsychotic medication has been shown to help relieve severe anxiety, insomnia and emotional outbursts.

Antidepressants – FDA-approved Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI), Sertraline (for example, Zoloft) and Paroxetine drugs (like Paxil) can ease both depression and anxiety-related symptoms, such as sleeplessness, mental fog and forgetfulness.

Anti-anxiety medications – Have been prescribed to improve anxiousness and stress.

Prazosin (or Minipress) – A drug used for years to treat hypertension, has been found to block the brain's response to an adrenaline-like brain chemical called norepinephrine, which can spur insomnia and recurrent nightmares may help reduce flashback nightmares.

As mentioned, your doctor could prescribe one or a combination from the list of drug treatments above. The important thing is for you to keep a record of any side effects, mood and emotions. In many cases, it will take a number of weeks before the drugs take effect and your physician may adjust your medications until they find a combination that works adequately to treat your symptoms. Once you have found a drug treatment that works for you, look online and purchase your PTSD prescription medications at reduced prices from a fully-licensed Canadian pharmacy.

Common alternative therapies for PTSD

Your doctor may prescribe a series of behavioral therapies on their own, or in addition to, your medicinal PTSD treatment program. Both individual and group therapy (which offers a connection to others who’ve experienced similar experiences) have been used to treat children and adults who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. As with any type of therapy, you may need to try more than one group or therapist until you find the right fit for you.

The type of therapy that may be best for you depends on a number of factors that you and your health care professional can discuss—with the main goal being to help you take back control of your life in the face of long-lasting fear.

Common non-drug-related therapies used to treat PTSD include:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - ACT teaches PTSD sufferers to cope with—rather than avoid—emotional pain. This behavioral treatment shows them that suffering doesn’t come from experience alone, but also from avoidance of emotions associated with the traumatic event.

Psychotherapy – In addition to anti-psychotic medications, your physician may recommend you see a psychotherapist in order to relieve severe anxiety and help treat your insomnia and mood swings.

Cognitive therapy – Is a recognition-based therapy, meaning the goal is to identify common cognitive patterns (or ways of thinking) as well as how they affect your perceptions, negative reactions and relationship patterns.

Exposure therapy – This is often used in combination with cognitive therapy to help PTSD patients safely face and cope with frightening situations effectively. Exposure therapy has recently incorporated "virtual reality" techniques that allow you to virtually re-enter a traumatic experience and face it in a safe environment.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – EMDR, which is typically combined with Exposure Therapy, recalls a distressing event and tracks the series of guided eye movements that help you process and cope with the associated traumatic memories.

Bio: Bernice Spradlin is an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in Brooklyn, New York, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance health-related articles and blogs. In her off time, you can often find Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying the cool breeze. Bernice is currently looking for freelance writing work, and can be contacted at BerniceG.Spradlin@gmail.com

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