PTSD, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can happen when someone goes through a scary or life-threatening event.
Some common events that can cause PTSD to develop in a person include war, sexual assault, natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes, accidents like car crashes, violence, death of a loved one and bad childhood experiences.
The risk of getting PTSD can be higher if the event was intense, lasted a long time, or had more than one event happening within a short period.
Some people are also more vulnerable to getting PTSD because they’ve been through trauma before, have underlying mental health problems or lack enough support from others. It may also be generic if it runs in the family.
It’s important to know that not everyone who goes through a bad event will develop PTSD. Different factors, like our body, mind and environment, play a role in whether we get PTSD or not.
Getting the right help and support early can lower the chances of getting PTSD or make it less severe if we do have it.
Treating PTSD usually involves psychotherapy, which means talking to a trained therapist who can help.
A type of therapy that’s helpful for PTSD treatment is called Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy or CBT. CBT is based on research and is known to be effective. It focuses on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to PTSD symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT for PTSD is made up of two parts: cognitive restructuring and exposure therapy.
In cognitive restructuring, we work with a therapist to identify and change negative thoughts that are related to the bad event. We learn new ways of thinking that are more balanced and realistic, which helps us feel better and react differently when we remember a traumatic event.
Exposure therapy is the other part of CBT for PTSD. In this therapy, we practice facing the memories and reminders of the bad event in a safe and controlled environment. This can involve talking about what happened, writing about it or even using virtual reality to recreate the event. The goal is to get used to these memories and reminders so they don’t have such a strong hold on our emotions.
CBT also teaches us coping skills to manage feelings like anxiety and anger. We learn relaxation techniques, ways to deal with stress and problem-solving skills. These skills help us handle these emotions better and improve our overall well-being.
In CBT, we often have homework to do between therapy sessions. This helps us practice what we’ve learned and keep track of our thoughts, feelings and symptoms.
It’s also important to remember that CBT is not a quick fix. It takes time, usually a few weeks to months, to see progress. The number of therapy sessions needed depends on each person’s response and how severe their symptoms are.
If you’re considering CBT for PTSD, it’s essential to find a mental health professional who is trained and experienced in this type of therapy. They can support you on your journey to recovery.
So, if you find yourself grappling with the shackles of PTSD, know that there is hope.
Researched by Olamide Opebiyi