One of the many myths surrounding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a belief that it can not be successfully treated. PTSD is just a word that encompasses a range of symptoms. There is no known biological aspect that is called PTSD. The symptoms that result and cause dysfunction can be treated, and sufferers can fully recover from the majority of the issues hindering their daily life.
What Causes Symptoms Relevant to PTSD?
Trauma is the primary culprit. Trauma can be treated with trauma therapies such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Prolonged Exposure (PE) and other combination therapies or alternative complementary methods, such as aroma and equine therapies. When therapy has helped your brain obtain the resolution needed, most symptoms dissipate entirely. When treated early, other symptoms may not have time to form depth in your life, thus trauma treatment can remove all symptoms in some cases.
There are secondary symptom profiles relevant for their own treatment. For example, agoraphobia will not be treated by resolving traumatic memories. Agoraphobia occurs as a reactive measure to reduce symptoms, and the brain correlates isolation to symptom minimization positively. Once you heal your trauma, this once protective measure is now negatively impacting your life, but through exposure exercises isolation can be removed.
This necesitity of further treatment past trauma processing repeats for several secondary symptom profiles. Another example is alcoholism or drugs, which are used to detach oneself from the reality of symptoms. Escapism is the primary reason alcohol or drugs are used, as they offer quick and effective detachment. A sufferer may need to partake in alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation to remove such negative consequence from their life.
There are alternative treatments readily available that have proven links to reduce symptom severity and maintain symptom reduction. Exercise prevents depressive symptoms; yoga teaches breathing, and it can help you control panic attacks; meditation reduces anxiety. There are many alternative therapies that complement primary therapies to help minimize symptoms and maintain quality of life. Finding what works for you individually can be a little trial and error, and it is important, though sometimes a struggle, to give things an honest try.
For approximately 5% of those who obtain PTSD, this group will endure symptoms the remainder of their life. Their trauma has such core depth, all facets cannot be healed. This does not mean that most symptoms cannot be removed or reduced. They can, but it will instead take constant effort to maintain symptoms. They won’t ever be completely removed, and these symptoms will likely get worse if left untreated for any length of time.
Written by Anthony, who founded MyPTSD in 2005. He is a veteran, writer, and web designer. He lives with his wife and two heinously cute puppies in Melbourne.
Edited by Simon, who earned her writing degree in 2011. She hopes to one day garner a doctorate in composition. You can find her on MyPTSD, where she talks (too much) about her dogs, life, the multiverse, and Everything.