August 19, 2016

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.  Symptoms include re-experiencing aspects of the traumatic events (such as intrusive thoughts or nightmares), avoidance of reminders or cues related to the event(s), increased arousal (easily startled, irritability, etc), and cognitive or mood changes.  Although most people who develop PTSD have symptoms within 3 months of the event(s), some people do not have symptoms until much later.  The severity and duration of PTSD is highly variable.  At times, PTSD can rob a person of their ability to cope and function at work, school or within relationships.  At Hanover Psychiatry, our PTSD experts can help restore someone’s functioning and eliminate or reduce PTSD symptoms.

Treatment approaches used by our PTSD experts at Hanover Psychiatry include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

According to the National Center for PTSD, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective type of therapy for adults with PTSD.  In CBT, a person learns to understand how their thoughts about their trauma are contributing to their emotional state and behaviors.  CBT teaches a person how to identify and change unhelpful or distressing thinking patterns with more accurate and less distressing thoughts, while also teaching how to cope with distressing feelings and PTSD symptoms.  The typical length of CBT treatment for PTSD is 3-6 months of weekly individual therapy.  In more severe cases, more intensive treatment (2-3 times per week) is recommended.

Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) for children and adolescents

TF-CBT is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be the most effective type of therapy for children and adolescents who have significant emotional problems, such as mood instability, depression, anxiety, and/or behavioral problems related to traumatic life events.  It can be used both when someone has experienced a single trauma or multiple traumatic events.  TF-CBT can also be a useful approach to helping someone cope with grief/loss.   In TF-CBT, the child or adolescent learns new skills to help process thoughts and feelings related to traumatic life events and new ways to manage distressing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related traumatic events.   In TF-CBT, the child or adolescent works with a parent or supportive adult to work through traumatic memories and increase family communication and support, while promoting feelings of safety.