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PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects nearly 8% of Americans, and while it is caused by many different factors, it can have devastating effects on the victims and their families.
Brought on by extreme stress following a traumatic event–such as being involved in military combat, witnessing a terrorist act, or surviving abuse–PTSD can lead to substance abuse, depression, or suicidal thoughts if left untreated. It can also lead to domestic violence, as evidenced by several studies which have shown that sufferers of PTSD can become violent.
Because PTSD can cause anxiety, flashbacks, loss of sleep or appetite, nightmares, mood swings, or memory issues, it often negatively affects mood and emotions. Sufferers who are also violent need to address their PTSD on a regular basis with therapy or medication in order to find a healthy path; there are many different types of treatment that will depend on the trauma, so it’s imperative to see a doctor about what will work best. Here are some of the most popular treatments.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This type of therapy focuses on the sufferer’s thought patterns and how they think about the event that led to PTSD. With the help of a trained therapist, the sufferer will learn to identify thought patterns that are unhealthy and lead to anxiety or fear, and how to replace them with more positive thoughts. This method also attempts to show the sufferer how to cope with their memories and how to push away feelings of guilt or shame that linger from the event.
This type of therapy will help the sufferer by teaching them to think about their most painful memories of the traumatic event over and over again while they are in a safe environment in order to take the fear and stress out of them. This method should only be done under the supervision of a trained therapist, as it may be harmful for some and helpful for others.
Talk or Group Therapy
Talking about a traumatic event may be the last thing a sufferer wants to do, but it’s imperative for some not to keep those memories bottled up; in some cases, this is what leads to violence. In therapy, talking with a counselor about the event and its aftermath can be enormously helpful in learning to cope or come to terms with what happened.
For some sufferers, group therapy is an even better option. With this treatment, sufferers can talk about their experiences within a group of people who have had similar trauma and can sympathize. Sometimes, being with people who understand what we have been through can be hugely helpful when learning to live with PTSD.
Substance Abuse Therapy
Because many PTSD sufferers also live with substance abuse disorder, it’s important to treat that separately. Because drugs and alcohol may be used by PTSD sufferers to block out painful memories or to sleep, treating the PTSD could help in learning to cope in more healthy ways.
Tilda Moore enjoys sharing and writing about education resources for Open Educators.
Peyton’s Momma would like to Thank Tilda Moore for writing this information piece for us. We need to bring more awareness to issues like this.