The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. They will also ask about your moods, and overall wellness. The doctor will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and details that you share.
PTSD can be managed with therapy. The goal is to reduce the effect of PTSD on everyday life and relationships. The exact steps will depend on your specific needs. Treatment may be short or long term. Some treatment options include:
Better awareness of thoughts, feelings, and negative patterns
Learning coping skills to manage thoughts about the trauma and current day challenges
Understand and find the balance between your beliefs before the trauma and beliefs after the trauma
There are a few different types of CBT including:
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)—understand and change thought pattern.
Prolonged exposure therapy—repeated discussion of the trauma to decrease negative feelings. Should be done with a therapist.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
A therapist will ask you to do simple tasks while talking about the traumatic event. Tasks may include hand-tapping, following therapist's hand with your eyes, or listening to tones through headphones. This allows your brain to process the trauma in a different way.
Other therapeutic options that may help include:
Stress inoculation therapy (SIT)—use relaxation techniques, positive reframing of negative thoughts, and assertive communication.
Group meetings—with other survivors of trauma.
Family therapy—to help with relationships between family members, give family members support, and help family understand PTSD.
Mindfulness meditation—focus on breathing and present experiences to manage stress.
Medicine can help to manage some symptoms. They may help with anxiety, depression, and
while you work through treatment.
Jeffereys M. Clinician's guide to medications for PTSD. National Center for PTSD—US Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treatment/overview/clinicians-guide-to-medications-for-ptsd.asp. Accessed January 31, 2021.
Post-traumatic stress disorder. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/topics/ptsd/index.aspx. Accessed January 31, 2021.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114915/Posttraumatic-stress-disorder-PTSD. Accessed January 31, 2021.
Treatment. National Center for PTSD—US Department of Veterans Affairs website. Available at: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/therapy-med/index.asp. Accessed January 31, 2021.
10/12/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114915/Posttraumatic-stress-disorder-PTSD: Polusny MA, Erbes CR, Thuras P, et al. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2015;314(5):456-465.
Last reviewed January 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 01/20/2021
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