Any traumatic condition has the potential to cause considerable distress for those who suffer from these conditions. In good news though, with the right treatment and support, the majority of people with a trauma-related condition can make a full recovery.

Treatment for the different trauma conditions that exist differ slightly, though they generally involve self-help, talking therapy, and on some occasions – medication.

Trauma can have a debilitating impact on humans

What is PTSD & Trauma?

PTSD & Trauma-based conditions: PTSD and Trauma-based conditions refer to the various conditions that involve traumatic events or memories. They develop due to being involved in or seeing a distressing or frightening event. Whilst Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the best-known condition in this area, other conditions exist too. These conditions can have a marked impact on an individual’s life. But with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

PTSD & Trauma treatment

The exact treatment plan that will be used depends on the severity of the presenting symptoms of the condition. Treatment is tailored accordingly.

Watchful Waiting

If symptoms after a traumatic event are relatively mild, or symptoms have been present for less than 1 month, an approach called watchful waiting can be implemented.

This is where a doctor suggests that the individual waits a short period of time and see if their symptoms clear up on their own. In some cases, trauma can be short-term – which is normally called Acute Stress Disorder.

2 in 3 people that experience a traumatic event will not go on to develop PTSD, so this approach is worthwhile [1]. The individual will typically return within a month of their initial assessment, where their state of mind will be analysed.

Self help

Exercise is also an important part of treating any type of mental illness. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that regular exercise is good for helping improve low mood.

Joining a self-help group for trauma can be therapeutic as it gives the individual an opportunity to talk through their thoughts and feelings with like-minded individuals. Also consider looking at the resources on our website.

Talking Therapy

Trauma-based conditions are normally treated effectively through talking therapy. Therapy can help an individual come to terms with their traumatic event, or to understand their thoughts and behaviour. Some possible types of therapy include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that is used to treat a range of mental health conditions. CBT involves an individual talking face-to-face with a therapist, although sometimes CBT can be conducted in a group setting. CBT attempts to improve an individual’s wellbeing and mood. The therapy focuses on the link between thoughts, feelings and actions. This can be useful for those with low self-esteem, anxiety, unhelpful personality traits or intrusive thoughts. CBT can help an individual understand their feelings more, and in the long run should lead to an improvement in quality of life.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): While more of a newer treatment, EMDR is an exciting intervention that has helped many people cope with trauma-based conditions. This therapy involves an individual moving their eyes from side-to-side, with the therapist directing their eye movements. During this, the individual recalls their traumatic experience. EMDR is believed to help an individual change how they think about the traumatic event, with the therapist aiming to facilitate change.

Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy is a talking therapy that aims to help uncover and resolve unconscious beliefs that cause psychiatric conditions. Traumatic experiences that may or may not be buried in the unconscious mind can be highlighted and processed. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy involves talking to a trained therapist. The therapist can show the individual how early memories and past traumas have affected their thinking, behaviour and attitude in the modern day. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy is especially useful for any condition that involves past trauma. Renowned neurologist Sigmund Freud developed this therapy, which is typically completed over a long-term basis.

There are a range of other types of talking therapy, aside from the above.

Medication

Trauma-based conditions can often improve with medication. The medication that is usually prescribed is an antidepressant.

Only two medicines are actually licensed for use in treatment of PTSD – Paroxetine and Sertraline. These are both SSRI antidepressants.

However, three other antidepressants have the potential to be effective in treating PTSD according to official guidelines. These are Mirtazapine, Amitriptyline and Phenelzine. However, Amitriptyline and Phenelzine can only be prescribed by a mental health specialist.

If an antidepressant is successful in improving symptoms, the medication should be taken for at least a year, before being gradually withdrawn. Acute Stress Disorder is normally not treated by medication. Adjustment Disorder will often be treated by antidepressants.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants can help to improve and regulate mood. They should improve motivation and restore energy. SSRI Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed. They act on the brain chemical serotonin – which is thought to help in regulating mood and emotion. They may include side-effects such as a dry mouth, sexual problems and nausea, though these should hopefully be short-term. Other classes of antidepressants are available in the event of an inadequate reaction.

Other

There are also some alternative and complimentary treatments that offer a different approach to the above types of treatment.

Summary

All trauma-based conditions are very difficult to live with. However, there are many different treatment options, which can help significantly.

The aim is always for recovery. Each person will hopefully find a treatment course that helps them reach this goal.

See Also

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Helplines

If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.

References

[1]          NHS. (2022). Overview – Post-traumatic stress disorder. Available: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/overview/. Last accessed: 2nd June 2024.