How Therapy Helps PTSD Victims Overcome Trauma

People who undergo distressing or tragic events can develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. They’re usually also diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorders at treatment centers. Over the years, doctors have been developing various ways to effectively cure patients with this condition.

Although medicines relieve the symptoms, they’re not a cure-all. They can only treat them temporarily, but they don’t help the patient solve the underlying problem. It’s better to combine these pharmaceuticals with intensive therapy.

Different types of therapy are found to be useful in treating PTSD. Here are three common techniques that use different recovery methods.

Exposure Therapy

Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may not be helpful. This prevents patients from coming to terms with what happened and properly processing what they’ve experienced. They’ll keep holding on to their fears and wrong perceptions, which hinders them from functioning well at work and having normal social interactions.

Exposure therapy aims to confront those fears and help patients face their memories in a safe environment. The therapists in anxiety disorder treatment facilities will subject you to certain triggers to desensitize you. This may reduce their impact on your body and emotions. You’ll even be taught how to breathe when you feel anxious.

This method typically lasts around 15 sessions. It can be done through virtual reality tools that immerse you in an environment similar to the one you experienced. It’s especially helpful for people who have flashbacks and nightmares.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT

This mainly involves talking as a way of processing the distress a person feels. You’ll speak with your therapist about every detail you can recall. They may also require you to write everything on paper. You’ll even be asked to mention how the negative thoughts have affected your life.

With their aid, you can process your experience and point out any patterns that aren’t beneficial to your recovery. They’ll assist you in objectively assessing the situation and identifying false beliefs that you may have about the traumatic event.

For instance, you may blame yourself for things that were out of your control or worry about the likelihood of the episode happening again. They’ll correct the way you think of these factors, reducing their impact on your mental health.

This rehabilitation program lasts around 3 months. It comprises weekly 60- to 90-minute sessions, which may be used in tandem with exposure therapy.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR

This is considered one of the more non-traditional therapy methods. Unlike CBT, this doesn’t involve talking about the traumatic incident. Instead, it relies heavily on the rhythm of a person’s own rapid eye movement. This motion affects the mental impact of the incident and weakens the negative emotions related to it. If you’re uncomfortable with narrating what happened, this may be the treatment for you.

During an EDMR session, the therapist will ask you to follow objects with your eyes. They can wave their hands in front of your face or do finger movements. Then, they’ll request you to recall everything about the distressing incident, even urging you to remember what you emotionally and physically felt. They’ll direct you to shift your thoughts to things that are more positive.

A session can last up to 90 minutes. It may involve anything from foot-tapping to the use of musical notes, whichever the therapist sees fit to trigger your eye movement.

These are just some ways mental health therapy helps people with PTSD. You can sign up for these at an anxiety disorder treatment center. Contact Kinder in the Keys Treatment Center for more information about programs that cater to your specific needs.


Author Bio

Dr. Laura Tanzini, DrPh, MA, MFT

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a highly educated and accomplished professional with a background in biology and psychology. She received a BS in Biology from UC Riverside, an MA in psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in Lifestyle Medicine from Loma Linda University.

Dr. Laura Tanzini is a Board Certified Professional Counselor, Integrative Medicine Clinician, and PTSD Clinician. She has worked in multiple medical hospitals, mental health institutions, and inpatient eating disorder clinics. Also, Dr. Tanzini has written scholarly papers and spoken on various topics related to nutrition, stress, menopause, obesity, depression, anxiety, and human development.