It’s estimated that 3.6% of adults in the United States experienced some form of post-traumatic stress disorder in the previous year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. If you’re facing this or another type of trauma, getting help is an option. Treating trauma, after identifying its presence, is a critical step in reclaiming your life.
How Psychological Trauma Is Treated
Treatment for trauma is always very specific to the needs of the individual. A group of therapies may be used on their own or together to help a person overcome the most impactful elements of trauma.
There’s no way to forget or to erase what the trauma has done to you. However, with therapy, it may be possible to rebuild your life.
Most people benefit from a combination of treatments offered by licensed and accredited providers. You shouldn’t try to deal with trauma on your own.
Treatment Through Counseling
Treating emotional trauma requires talking. Counseling, in both one-on-one sessions and group therapy, can help people get to what’s causing their pain.
Generally, your therapist works to uncover the true cause of your symptoms, which may include the actual traumatic event. In a safe setting, a therapist works with you to talk about that event, what it did to you, why you think it happened, and what the presence of it in your life today means.
Key components of this type of therapy may include:
Cognitive Processing Therapy: In this approach, a person works through a number of therapy sessions where they discuss the event, write it down in detail and examine what feelings it creates. The goal is to figure out a new way to manage those feelings or thoughts surrounding this event. The benefit is that you can start to retrain your brain’s reaction to the trauma.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Some people benefit from short instances of exposure to the trauma they are suffering. This is generally done for situations that bring on anxiety. You learn how to breathe through them, slow down your mind and face the recounting of these events in your life.
Treatment Through Medical Integration
While most people think psychological trauma treatment is simply talking through the events, there’s an important physiological connection too. Sometimes, the trauma symptoms a person has are directly related to physical ailments.
Some diseases or medications can create sensations of anxiety, fear and the powerful emotional reliving of events in your life. Illegal substances can also create these types of experiences.
For that reason, it’s essential for a person to receive a full medical workup. This component ensures physical needs are being met properly in the course of providing care. Appropriate treatment for any underlying medical condition is important as well.
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Medication Treatment Options
Some people benefit from prescription medications that can help to minimize their negative experiences and thoughts. The only time this is done is when a person’s condition warrants it. It’s not easy to make this decision since most medications have some side effects. Common medications used to treat trauma include:
Antidepressants: The most common option includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications — drugs such as sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil). These drugs can help with depression and anxiety related to trauma. They can improve concentration and abate sleep disturbances.
Antianxiety Medications: Many people with trauma experience chronic anxiety. Some medications may be prescribed to help minimize its impact. Most of the time, these medications are used for a short period until a person can learn how to control anxiety more effectively.
You and your therapist can develop treatments outside of counseling and medication to treat your trauma. This may include natural solutions designed to help improve your mental health, such as:
Lifestyle Changes: Improving circumstances, no longer using drugs or alcohol and getting assistance for relationship problems can help you. You may also find that removing some of the triggers that cause traumatic episodes or PTSD can help.
Diet Changes: Improving the quality of nutrients in a diet can help some people. This can improve hormone balance and overall health.
Can Psychological Trauma Ever Be Cured?
There’s no way to take back what happened to you. While counseling and other therapies for trauma can be highly effective and paving the way forward, there may be no real cure. Trauma may always impact the way you live and some of your thoughts.
Living with an emotional trauma isn’t easy and takes constant focus to see improvement. Coping and support strategies can make a significant difference in most lives. This includes:
Sticking to Your Treatment Plan: Once you meet with a therapist and work out a treatment plan, stick with it. It’s the best way to get ongoing support when you’re faced with a bad day or a significant panic attack. You can develop key strategies for managing your health and anxiety.
Avoid Self-Medication: One of the worst ways to manage your anxiety and PTSD is through self-medication. Using alcohol and drugs to numb your feelings only creates complications and limits your ability to process and cope with your trauma. They can prevent your ability to heal.
Take a Break: When you feel overwhelmed and are focused on your anxiety or thoughts, find some way to take a break from what you’re doing. That may mean just going to a different location to work or going for a walk.
Find Something to Enjoy: Work on building good habits. Putting your nervous energy into something that you really like to do can be helpful. You can’t get rid of your trauma, but you can find new ways to improve the quality of your life. That can make a big difference in where your attention is focused during the course of the day.
Connect With People: Staying out of your own head can be a powerful way to manage your trauma-focused feelings. For example, find a local group that includes people who have experienced the same type of trauma as you. That may ensure you are getting the very best one-on-one support from people who understand what you’re going through and thinking about daily.
It’s also important to be willing and motivated to change. This means being listening to your therapist, going to your appointments and participating in group discussions. When you do this, you are going to see the most improvement.
Getting Help for Trauma at FHE Health
Turn to the counselors at FHE Health to learn more about how you can treat the anxiety and pain you’re dealing with in a customized treatment plan. Call us today at 833-596-3502 for immediate help.