Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder -- Diagnosis and Treatment
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How Do I Know If I Have PTSD?
A diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is based on a report of the patient's history in the aftermath of a psychological trauma. This will include recent symptoms; a description of the event (at times, the event may have been forgotten, especially if it occurred during childhood); childhood, educational, and work experiences; and relationships with others. Other disorders that often accompanyPTSD are depression, other anxiety disorders, and alcohol or drug abuse.
What Are the Treatments for PTSD?
Various forms of psychotherapy are helpful in PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be very helpful. Exposure therapy is a specific behavioral technique widely used to treat PTSD that involves systematically exposing someone to the memories and events associated with a trauma and reducing the fear response under the guidance of a trained therapist. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of psychotherapy for PTSD that involves presenting the patient with various visual and tactile stimuli meant to release emotional experiences and free the mind of blockages. In addition, support groups help people with PTSD work through their feelings with others who have had similar experiences.
The goal of therapy is to encourage the patient to recall all details of the event, express grief, complete the mourning process, and get on with life. For children, this may involve play therapy.
• Palliative Care: Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanx, Ativan) are often useful for short-term, immediate relief of anxiety symptoms associated with PTSD. Long-term use of these medications is strongly discouraged.
• Preventive Care: A class of antidepressant drugs -- known as selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs (for example, Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft) -- help restore chemical balance to the brain and have been found to be very beneficial in the treatment of PTSD.
• Mood Swings/Explosive Angers: Most recent research suggests that sometimes there may be value in using anti-epileptic drugs with mood stabilizing properties, such as Depakote or Tegretol.
• Psychosis: Anti-psychotic drugs should be added for those with persistent paranoia.
Show hospitality to strangers for, by doing that, some have entertained angels unawares.
Never stop helping others because others think that they abuse you. That stranger can be Jesus and you lose the opportunity to serve, even in something simple.
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