Treatment of PTSD is imperative for the person who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Fortunately, there are currently many successful ways of treating PTSD. Psychological treatments, including both cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic treatments, have been found to be successful in helping people manage and reduce their PTSD symptoms. There is a great need for treatment of PTSD as a diagnosis of PTSD can have a major impact on a person’s life. PTSD can negatively affect your mood, work, school, and relationships with family and friends. Fortunately, a number of different treatments for PTSD have been found to be effective in helping a person recover from the diagnosis. A number of different treatments for PTSD are available that can help people successfully cope with the negative and widespread effects of this diagnosis, including individual or group therapy. Treatment of PTSD may be psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral in nature. It may also differ on the number of treatment sessions required. Regardless, there are many ways of effectively targeting the symptoms of PTSD. For the psychological treatment of PTSD, these are just some of the following types of PTSD treatment that have been proven effective: cognitive-behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. There are several more types of therapy available at Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women and Safe Harbor’s Capella, but this article will spotlight CBT and ACT. COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY When it comes to the treatment of PTSD, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an approach based on the idea that psychological problems arise as a result of the way in which a person interprets or evaluates situations, thoughts, and feelings, as well as our behaviors. The goal of CBT is to help people learn healthier ways of coping with distressing thoughts, as well as reducing avoidance or other problematic behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse. The idea is that if someone can change how they evaluate their environment or thoughts and feelings, anxiety and avoidance may be reduced, improving a person’s mood and overall quality of life. A number of techniques are used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Some common techniques are self-monitoring, cognitive restructuring and behavioral experiments. In self-monitoring the therapist may first have the patient track (or monitor) their thoughts. The patient writes down thoughts they have in response to certain situations, especially those that bring about anxiety or another upsetting feeling. This helps the patient become more aware of how they evaluate their experience and the consequences of these evaluations, such as anxiety. Once these evaluations are identified, the therapist may then help the patient gather evidence for and against these evaluations. This process is called cognitive restructuring. Through cognitive restructuring, the person may realize that their evaluations or interpretations of situations are not entirely accurate. They may also realize that, although thoughts often feel true, they are rarely based on fact. Finally, the therapist will often ask the patient to take part in behavioral experiments. This involves having the patient test these new ways of looking at the world by going into situations where he or she may contact something that was once feared. By encountering something that was once feared and not experiencing any negative outcomes, the person will have even more evidence that their previous thoughts were not so accurate. ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY From an early age, we learn to label some experiences as bad and others as good. For example, sadness and anxiety are viewed as bad or negative emotions, and happiness and joy are good or positive emotions. It is understandable then that we try to limit painful experiences and maximize positive experiences. In particular, when we experience some kind of emotional pain, we tend to want to try and get away from it. However, in the long run, this avoidance may not be that effective. Avoidance is not effective because emotional pain is a part of life. We cannot really avoid it. At some point everyone experiences uncomfortable thoughts and emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, or anger. How we choose to respond to that emotional pain can determine whether we are able to get through that pain or whether we prolong and intensify it. In fact, it is thought that trying to avoid or escape our inner experiences may be what leads to suffering and psychological disorders. For example, a person who has experienced a traumatic event may be constantly flooded by memories of that event, as well as anxiety and fear. As a result, the person may try to get some temporary relief through drugs or alcohol. This may work in the short term, but the alcohol or drugs will do nothing in the long run to alleviate that pain. In fact, it will likely cause the pain to become worse, as well as introduce a whole host of other problems. ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) is a behavioral treatment that is based in the idea that suffering comes not from the experience of emotional pain, but from our attempted avoidance of that pain. It is used in the treatment of PTSD and other mental health disorders. Its overarching goal is to help people be open to and willing to have their inner experiences while focusing attention not on trying to escape or avoid pain (because this is impossible to do) but instead, on living a meaningful life. A CALL TO ACTION PTSD rarely occurs alone. PTSD has been found to be co-occurring with a number of other mental health disorders, including depression, substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder. Therefore, when it comes to treatment of PTSD, mental health professionals often take into account not only the symptoms of PTSD that a person might be experiencing, but other difficulties as well. At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women and Safe Harbor’s Capella, these issues and others, such as sex and love addiction, are addressed based on the client’s needs. Safe Harbor is a loving community of women that grow together in sobriety. If you, or someone you know, are suffering from the grips of PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, or any of the aforementioned mental health disorders, call us today at 877-660-7623. We are here to help.