How should severe PTSD be treated?

Severe PTSD should be treated with a combination of pharmacotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and lifestyle modifications. Pharmacotherapy is the use of medications to reduce symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and flashbacks. CBT helps individuals recognize and modify their behaviors, beliefs, and thought patterns related to their trauma. This can help individuals process traumatic memories in healthier ways while understanding the triggers that are associated with those memories. Modifying lifestyle factors like diet, exercise habits and sleeping routines can help address the physical symptoms associated with PTSD.

Understanding the Symptoms of Severe PTSD

Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental illness that can affect the life of anyone who suffers from it. While treatments vary, understanding and recognizing the symptoms of PTSD can help people to begin seeking out professional help in order to cope with it.

The two main types of symptoms associated with severe PTSD are intrusive thoughts and avoidance behaviors. Intrusive thoughts involve unwanted memories or images that are difficult for someone suffering from PTSD to avoid. These may come in the form of flashbacks or intense nightmares related to past traumatic events, as well as high levels of anxiety when thinking about certain topics or places. On the other hand, avoidance behavior involves avoiding anything that might trigger such intrusive thoughts, such as certain people or activities. This could manifest itself in social isolation, difficulty forming close relationships, substance abuse issues, neglecting responsibilities at work or school and overall withdrawing from life in general.

Sufferers may also experience physical manifestations caused by their chronic stress levels such as frequent headaches or muscle tension issues due to constantly being on edge and worrying about potential triggers for their memories resurfacing again. It is important for those suffering from this disorder to recognize these early signs so they can take steps towards getting help before things become unmanageable due to feeling like there’s no way out anymore.

Evidence-Based Therapies for Treatment

When attempting to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the use of evidence-based therapies has proven beneficial. These therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), focus on altering a patient’s thoughts and behaviours in order to increase wellbeing. In CBT, patients explore their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs related to their trauma while learning positive coping skills in a safe environment. This can provide an individual with the tools needed to identify unhealthy thought patterns that have developed due to traumas experienced in life.

In EMDR, clinicians use bilateral stimulation techniques such as eye movements or tapping while patients access distressing memories linked to PTSD symptoms in order to reduce trauma’s negative effect on daily functioning. This can help individuals process painful experiences and also develop insights into how they see themselves or cope with problems differently than before. Research suggests that EMDR is particularly helpful for people who have experienced recent traumatic events or those who experience long-term effects from earlier traumas.

Trauma-focused psychodynamic therapy is another form of evidence-based treatment which utilises insight into the patient’s past relationships and their current lives which assists them in understanding why their present circumstances are affected by past experiences whilst providing new methods for responding more effectively without becoming overwhelmed by intense emotions triggered during therapy sessions. Through this process, it becomes possible for individuals struggling with PTSD to begin making meaningful changes towards healthier living without feeling threatened emotionally or mentally by revisiting difficult events from the past – one step at a time.

Medications Used to Treat Severe PTSD

Medications are often an integral part of the treatment plan for severe PTSD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are usually prescribed first as they have few side effects and can lessen overall symptoms of anxiety and depression that may occur with PTSD. Some examples of SSRIs include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa. For those who do not respond to SSRIs, other medications such as tricyclic antidepressants or monoamine oxidase inhibitors may be considered in combination with psychotherapy.

In some cases benzodiazepines are used in the short-term to help ease extreme anxiety associated with flashbacks or nightmares caused by posttraumatic stress disorder. Benzodiazepines act quickly but also can cause dependency when taken long-term; therefore care must be taken to properly monitor dosage and length of treatment while using this class of drugs.

Research has begun to explore antipsychotics being used off-label for treating certain symptoms related to post traumatic stress disorder such as intrusive thoughts or sleep disturbances due to hypervigilance issues common among PTSD patients. Antipsychotic medications may be an option if a patient does not respond adequately to antidepressant therapy alone. However their use carries risks including weight gain or metabolic syndrome so close monitoring is important before engaging in this type of medication regime.

Psychoeducation Strategies for Coping and Managing Symptoms

Psychoeducation is an important part of treating PTSD, as it helps the individual understand their condition and how to manage its symptoms. Psychoeducation typically covers topics such as emotional triggers, avoidance behavior, common symptoms and associated problems. It may also provide information about available treatment options and strategies for dealing with distressing memories. The goal of psychoeducation is to develop a better understanding of PTSD and facilitate more effective coping skills in order to reduce the severity of its symptoms.

A key strategy used in psychoeducation programs involves helping individuals learn how to identify their emotional responses during times of distress. Individuals can then apply effective coping techniques in the moment when they recognize their own response to traumatic events or other stressful situations. This recognition can prevent further escalation or outbursts of emotion that would otherwise be difficult to manage once they have reached an intensity that can no longer be controlled effectively through conscious means alone.

Another approach used in psychoeducation is teaching relaxation methods like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation exercises which focus on reducing physical tension from stress-related emotions. These strategies can help individuals create positive experiences even under highly unpleasant conditions by actively calming themselves down both physically and mentally before things become overwhelming for them emotionally. Utilizing this type of training can allow individuals to take control over their anxiety levels which often develops due to unresolved trauma experienced in the past.

Alternative Approaches: Complementary and Holistic Therapies

For those seeking an alternative to traditional treatments for severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), complementary and holistic therapies offer a viable option. These techniques, while gaining traction in modern mental health care, have been used for centuries to help people struggling with a variety of psychological issues. The core premise is that symptoms can be addressed by focusing on the mind, body, spirit connection and treating all three as a whole entity.

Complementary therapies may include yoga or meditation, which allow the patient to gain greater control over their thoughts and feelings through purposeful mindfulness practices. In addition to helping reduce hyperarousal and intrusive thoughts experienced by PTSD sufferers, such strategies may also foster greater self-awareness. Other approaches might involve hypnosis or cognitive behavioural therapy; both of which can help patients identify patterns of unhelpful thinking and modify them accordingly.

Holistic therapies are less reliant upon science but place emphasis on the interconnectedness between physical health, emotional well-being and spiritual development – something proponents say cannot be ignored when attempting to heal trauma related afflictions like PTSD. Drawing from multiple sources including mindfulness practices, nutritional advice and energy healing techniques such as Reiki or chakra balancing, these methods attempt to bolster vitality and vigour as part of the therapeutic process by addressing imbalances in any one area directly linked back to depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders.

Importance of Support Networks in Treatment Plans

When it comes to mental health challenges such as PTSD, effective treatment is often far more complex than medication alone. In fact, the combination of individual therapies, specialized care, and strong support networks are essential for successful outcomes. Studies have found that individuals who had access to supportive people in their lives during therapy saw greater improvements in mental health and wellbeing than those without a support network.

Many healthcare providers now recognize the importance of social connections and interpersonally supportive relationships when creating treatment plans for patients with PTSD. Indeed, building a solid foundation of family or friends can provide invaluable emotional strength and resilience through difficult times. Professional counselors can work with their clients on developing healthy communication skills which enable them to foster meaningful connections that may assist in overcoming episodes caused by post-traumatic stress disorder. These interpersonal relationships also allow individuals to practice self-expression which encourages personal growth during recovery from trauma and adversity.

Having people around who understand what you’re going through can have significant positive effects on both physical and psychological health outcomes associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental health professionals will typically encourage their clients suffering from PTSD to form a reliable system of support – providing necessary encouragement and resources for their journey toward healing – so they feel safe and secure within their environment. With the right kind of support, those struggling with this condition can gain an increased sense of safety and confidence while allowing themselves to experience feelings such as joy or happiness free from fear or anxiety related symptoms.

Long-Term Management Strategies for Successful PTSD Recovery

When it comes to managing severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a long-term plan is the key to achieving lasting recovery. Those with PTSD should have a comprehensive treatment strategy which incorporates multiple facets such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness techniques, and even potentially pharmaceutical solutions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on identifying and replacing negative patterns of thinking or behavior with more adaptive alternatives. Mindfulness practice has been demonstrated to help address rumination, intrusive thoughts, and concentration difficulties associated with PTSD. Medications such as anti-anxiety agents and antidepressants can also play an important role in helping those suffering from PTSD alleviate their symptoms so they can begin engaging in therapeutic strategies.

Most importantly however is that individuals must create realistic goals for themselves based upon their specific situation in order to make sure that these strategies are effective over the long term. Setting achievable short-term objectives will help people build positive momentum towards achieving long-term success in recovering from PTSD. Having supportive family members who understand how to best support loved ones going through this process can be invaluable during this journey towards stability.

About the author.
Jay Roberts is the founder of the Debox Method and after nearly 10 years and hundreds of sessions, an expert in the art of emotional release to remove the negative effects of trauma. Through his book, courses, coaching, and talks Jay’s goal is to teach as many people as he can the power of the Debox Method. 

© Debox 2022