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Composition I, 11 am Class

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Dr. Todd McDaniels

13 November 2017



This paper focused on the different types of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).    Medical professionals classify PTSD as a mental health disorder that could cause serious medical problems. The objective is to identify proper procedures and techniques to improve people health and lifestyle.  The results explain the importance of adequate treatment and therapy to reduce the adverse effects on person’s quality of life. The most common types of treatments are medication, exposure therapies, and Psychotherapeutic treatment.












Experiencing or witnessing a tragic, shocking, life threatening event could cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Traumatic events that could trigger PTSD are natural disasters, combat, or sexual assault (Bartzokis).  People with PTSD typically have flashbacks or trouble sleeping.  Less sleep could result for mind tricks and games.  About seven to eight percent of the United States population at some point in their lives and nearly eight million adults have PTSD during a given year.  Most the patients that are diagnose with PTSD are adults.  They also reported that four percent of children 13-18 in the U.S. experience PTSD in their lifetime.  The symptoms of PTSD could have a direct impact on the average patient activities.  PTSD patients often have problems socializing with others, studying and going to work. (National center for PTSD).  Activities can have a major impact for PTSD patients.  Sometimes PTSD symptoms are developed months after the incident or traumatic event, but most people recover after few weeks or months.

 Anyone can develop PTSD, especially if the person is under extreme stress.  Children could be diagnosed with PTSD if they had seen someone getting stabbed, seen someone getting shot, or if they have been sexually abused.  Most patients are war veterans that went through a significant event like the loss of family member or friend.  A study shows that disturbance for those who survived World War II indicated the severity of psychological distress (Bartzokis).  Patients with PTSD could experience depression or anxiety, hopelessness, shame, chronic pain, relationship breakups, employment withdrawal, and drinking or drugs abuse problems.  There are many solutions to treat people with PTSD.  The best and most, ways to manage PTSD are exposure therapies, Psychotherapeutic treatment and, medication.

Exposure therapies reduce post-traumatic stress disorder and related problems (Cason).  Exposure treatment helps people to face and control their fear.  The patient is gradually expose the event and experience it safely.  The patient is introduced to imagined exposure, which allows them to recreate the memories and thoughts of the traumatic event.  The client imagines when they underwent a disturbing related event.  The patient is encouraged to use descriptive words, describing what they have felt at the time of the traumatic event.  It allows them to visualize and to re-experience the emotions so they can begin process them.  They are to describe the event in first person perspective.  The clinician helps with recalling the thoughts and emotions of the trauma-related event.  The clinician also focuses and assess the client’s distress level.  The therapy session is recorded to encourage the client to listen and to reflect on the problem (Cloitre).  This type of therapy provides the patient with the coping skills to deal with their feelings.  Studies show that the amount of time in each session and how often the sessions are helps to reduce PTSD patient’s symptoms.

Prolonged exposure is typically provided over a period of about three months with weekly individuals’ sessions, resulting in eight to 15 sessions overall. The original intervention protocol was described as nine to 12 sessions, each 90 minutes in length. The sessions are broken up so the client will not experience stress all at once.  Imaginal and In vivo exposure are an example of Prolonged exposure. Imaginal exposure occurs when a therapist guides the patient to describe the event in detail in the present tense (Rothbaum).  After the completion of each session, the patient and therapist discuss and process the emotion raised by the imaginal exposure. The patient is recorded while explaining the event so they can listen to the recording between sessions, to further process the emotions and practice the breathing techniques.  In vivo exposure is another method to treat PTSD patients. The therapy helps to confront feared stimuli outside of therapy. The therapist and patient identify a range of possible stimuli and situations connected to the traumatic fear, such as specific places or people. The patient must agree on stimuli to confront as part of the exposure and develop a plan to complete multiple sessions. The patient should gradually challenge themselves to experience some success in confronting feared stimuli and coping with the associated emotion. It is very effective because the patients are imagining the events to real life.

Another way to treat PTSD is the use of psychotherapeutic treatments, which are the most common and effective for PTSD treatment (Weisz). Trauma-focused psychotherapy (TFP) specializes in remembering the traumatic event or its meaning.  Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) are two types of psychotherapeutic treatments.  During the cognitive processing therapy, the patient will learn skills to understand how a traumatic event changed their thoughts and feeling. The CBT is a short-term, component-based information that consists of 12-15 sessions. The therapy normally integrates cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and family therapy principles as well trauma interventions.  People with PTSD will learn how to control their emotions.  A study showed that participant in the TF-CBT treatment experienced a significant reduction not only in PTS reactions but also other symptoms (Bartzokis and Lu).  Modifying the way, the patient think about the trauma could change how they feel.  Prolonged exposure (PE) allows the patient to talk about the traumatic event repeatedly until the memories are no longer upsetting. This therapy helps to control the thoughts and feelings related to the trauma.  The therapy enables the patient to return to places or do things that they were avoiding because remind them the traumatic events.

PTSD can be treated with medications.  The most common medicines used to treat PTSD are antidepressants.  PTSD medication helps to control sadness, worry, anger, and feeling detached from activities or people.  Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are examples of PTSD medications that could be used for depression.  These are the most common medications for depressions.  Studies demonstrate that SSRIs could be very useful for short-term treatment. The SSRIs have favorable adverse effect profile, making them the first-line treatment for PTSD (Weisz).  The most common medications to treat PTSD are sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine (Carey et al.).  Typically, doctors avoid the use of medication because it could cause addiction or severe side effects.  Some of the possible side effects include muscle rigidity, slow movement and involuntary tremors, substantial weight gain, an increased risk of type two diabetes, and elevated cholesterol levels.  The medications has side effects that are harmful for the body.

Analytical data shows that patients exposed to prolonged exposure exhibit a significant reduction in the severity score of their PTSD twelve months after the treatment was initiated. Statistical data also shows that the use of certain drugs to treat PTSD has increased dramatically in the past five years (Hembree).   The situation is creating concern because there is no evidence that marijuana, opioids, and amphetamines are useful treatment options for PTSD patients. The most significant concern is that drugs can cause other medical problems such as chronic bronchitis, abnormal brain development, impairment in short-term memory, motor coordination, and the ability to perform a complex task. The quality of life of patients can be affected by poor life satisfaction, decreased educational attainment, and increase sexual risk-taking behaviors. 

Based on studies, the treatment with better results and less harmful effects on patients is Psychotherapeutically treatment.  In comparison, exposure therapy takes over twelve months, and Psychotherapeutic treatment is only twelve to fifteen sessions.  Treating PTSD with medications is also less efficient because it could cause drug addiction or dependency. Medications also affect the patient’s ability to function correctly due to secondary effects. It is essential for a patient to educate themselves and build the coping skills to manage the symptoms. A necessary part of living with PTSD is to get sufficient time to rest, eat properly, workout, and get some time to relax.  Patients has to take care for themselves to live.  Reducing caffeine and nicotine intake can help to reduce anxiety, which is a PTSD symptom. Lastly, it is essential to remain connected with others and spend time with friends or people that care about your condition. Spending time with family and loved ones will offer healing and comfort.





















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