Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can be managed effectively with various approaches. This disorder falls under the broader spectrum of anxiety disorders, and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy has proven to be quite effective in managing it.

Relaxation Techniques and Hypnosis

Relaxation techniques and hypnosis can provide immediate relief, often proving more beneficial than medication for some individuals. These techniques can help thousands of individuals cope without the side effects associated with psychotropic drugs.

However, for some individuals, medication may be a necessity. In such cases, the goal should be to wean them off the drugs as soon as possible, potentially with the aid of relaxation techniques or hypnosis. This strategy sets the stage for non-emergency therapeutic interventions.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used form of psychotherapy that aims to improve mental health by changing negative patterns of thought and behavior. It's a highly structured, goal-oriented, and practical approach that focuses on present issues rather than exploring the deep-seated causes of psychological distress, as is common in other forms of therapy like psychoanalysis.

Follows a more detailed look at the key aspects of CBT, especially in the context of treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Systematic Desensitization

This is a technique used in CBT to reduce anxiety and fear responses. In the context of PTSD, it's used to help individuals gradually face and overcome their fears. For example, a person who has experienced a traumatic event is gradually exposed to the memory of that event in a controlled and safe environment. This exposure helps reduce the anxiety associated with the trauma.

Cognitive Restructuring

This part of CBT involves identifying, challenging, and altering irrational or maladaptive thoughts. In PTSD, cognitive restructuring is used to help individuals reframe their traumatic experience in a more objective, less distressing way. It's about changing how they perceive and interpret the event, which can significantly reduce the emotional impact.

Focus on Current Problems

Unlike some other therapies that delve into a person’s past to uncover the root causes of their psychological issues, CBT is more focused on solving current problems. It helps people deal with the here and now, teaching them skills to modify their dysfunctional thinking and behavior.

Empowerment and Skills Building

An important aspect of CBT is that it empowers individuals by teaching them coping skills that they can use outside of the therapy sessions. These skills are aimed at managing symptoms and preventing relapse, making CBT not just a treatment but also a tool for ongoing mental health maintenance.

Diagnosis Tools

Several standardized tools have been developed for diagnosing PTSD and evaluating it transversally and serially, including:

  • Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS)
  • Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID)
  • Structured Interview for PTSD (SI-PTSD)
  • Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS)
  • Eight-item Treatment-Outcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (TOP-8)
  • Short Screening Scale for DSM-IV PTSD

There are also numerous self-assessment scales available, such as:

  • Impact of Event Scale (IES)
  • Mississippi Scale (MSS)
  • Purdue Posttraumatic Stress Scale
  • Self-rating Inventory for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (SIP)
  • Peritraumatic Dissociation Experiences Questionnaire (PDEQ)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS)
  • Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS)

Self-Assessment Test

Here's a list of statements made by individuals who have experienced traumatic life events. For each statement, indicate how often you've had the same thought in the last seven days.

  1. I thought about the traumatic event even though I didn't mean to.
  2. I tried not to get upset when I thought about it or remembered it.
  3. I tried to remove it from memory.
  4. I had difficulty falling or staying asleep because images or thoughts about the traumatic event kept coming back to me.
  5. I felt strong recurring emotions related to it.
  6. I had dreams about that event.
  7. I tried to avoid anything that might remind me of him.
  8. I felt like it didn't happen or wasn't real.
  9. I tried not to talk about it.
  10. Images of the event suddenly entered my mind.
  11. Other thoughts led me to think about it.
  12. I realized I still had a lot of emotions tied to it, but I didn't take them into consideration.
  13. I tried not to think about it.
  14. Every memory reminded me of emotions related to that event.
  15. The emotions attached to it were like a kind of daze.

Remember, overcoming PTSD is a journey, and these therapeutic approaches can provide a roadmap. However, it's essential to seek help from professionals who are experienced in these techniques.

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The Wellyme Team

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