People who suffer with PTSD often experience severe emotional distress, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of guilt or shame. You shouldn’t have to live with those symptoms or feelings on a daily basis. You can find relief from PTSD symptoms with the right kind of treatment method and therapist. Read on to better understand this condition and available treatments near you.
PTSD Treatment Options in Chicago: What You Need to Know
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop following exposure to a traumatic event. Trauma refers to any situation or experience that causes physical or psychological harm. Most commonly, people will experience trauma due to war and war-related atrocities, natural disasters, sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and other violent events. A person may also be exposed to a traumatic event through the media, such as watching news reports about an attack or accident or by reading about a crime or disaster on the internet.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, has officially categorized four main symptom clusters of PTSD:
- Re-experiencing/Reliving the event – Experiences recurrent thoughts, images, or memories of the traumatic event
- Avoiding reminders of the event
- Having more negative thoughts and beliefs than before the event
- Hyperarousal – Being easily startled, having trouble sleeping, becoming quickly angered, or worrying excessively
Treatment Options for PTSD
Thankfully, there are treatments available for PTSD in Chicago and across the country. PTSD treatment options can vary depending on the nature of your trauma as well as the symptoms of your unique case. Every person may experience the same event differently, so if you’re struggling with PTSD, it is essential to work with your mental health specialist to develop a treatment plan that works specifically for you.
Psychotherapy is one of the most effective and proven treatments for PTSD. Individual therapies can vary, but psychotherapy often involves talking with a therapist about how you feel and about thoughts you may have about certain things. This type of therapy—talk therapy—helps patients gain insight into their past traumatic experiences, teaches reliable coping skills, and is one of the most reliable treatments for PTSD.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This form of psychotherapy uses eye movements to help patients process traumatic memories. During this therapy, patients are asked to focus on specific details of a memory or event while they move their eyes back and forth, as prompted by the EMDR therapist or with the help of their technology and tools. The technique has been shown to reduce the intensity of negative emotions associated with traumatic memories in study after study over the past two decades.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on addressing negative thinking patterns and associated behaviors. Patients are taught to identify and change unhelpful thought processes and internal behaviors for more positive outcomes. CBT can be particularly helpful when combined with appropriate medication when called for.
Prescription medications are often used to supplement treatments for PTSD symptoms. They can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and decrease intrusive thoughts. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and sedatives are all commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms of PTSD, though it is well known that this approach, alone, does little to address root causes underlying the symptoms that medications can help to quiet.
Recently, some states have begun to legalize alternative therapies to support individuals with PTSD. Some of these therapies include so-called “psychedelic” medicines often paired with the presence of qualified counselors. These include: psilocybin therapy, ketamine therapy, and MDMA therapy. While some have shown positive short-term results, these are all newly-emerging methods and have not all been rigorously tested over time using the common techniques in the science, such as double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trials, but even this is starting to happen increasingly with each passing year.
Regardless of what you are considering for next steps, it is essential to consult with a psychotherapist before pursuing any form of mental health treatment. Making sure the steps you're taking are right for you is just as important as the steps themselves.
Let Wellington Counseling Group Help You
Wellington Counseling Group consists of a team of psychotherapists of different backgrounds, certifications, and specialties. We're proud to be able to offer high-quality mental healthcare services to everyone regardless of their age, gender, race, or ethnicity. We help people navigate the challenges they face day to day by providing emotional and psychological support with excellence.
Get started today by contacting us and explore your PTSD treatment options in Chicago.