People with PTSD who are depressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts, or who are having difficulty functioning on a day-to-day basis, should seek immediate medical help.
Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough regular exercise and sleep, and engaging in stress reduction activities such as meditation or yoga can help ease the symptoms of PTSD.
Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.
Counseling can help reduce your symptoms, and can be used alone or in conjunction with medication therapy. Counseling can help you overcome avoidance behaviors and demoralization, and can help you master your fear that the traumatic event will recur. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, either individual or group, can be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. This therapy also improves a person’s ability to manage chronic or persistent symptoms. Group counseling that encourages you to re-live (as opposed to discuss) the traumatic event should be avoided, as it may worsen the condition.
Talk to your doctor before using alternative therapies to treat yourself, as some therapies can interfere with prescribed treatments. Some people have tried alternative approaches such as massage, acupuncture, and herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort and valerian root for treating their PTSD. However, these treatments remain unproven.
Young children experience unique problems associated with PTSD. Younger children may experience distressing dreams of the traumatic event. Such dreams may change into general nightmares of monsters, of having to rescue others, or of threats to themselves or others. Children may engage in repetitive play and reenact the event. For example, children who experience a traumatic car accident may repetitively reenact car crashes with toy cars. Children may also exhibit physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches. Because it is more difficult for children to communicate the complex emotions linked to PTSD, physicians should be sensitive to how young patients express symptoms differently.
The symptoms associated with PTSD become less intense and bothersome as time passes; especially if a patient receives treatment. Symptom duration varies, with complete recovery occurring within three months in approximately half of cases. Other cases have persistent symptoms for longer than 12 months after the trauma, and for some the symptoms persist for years.
People suffering from PTSD can have a variety of long-term problems related to their disorder. The symptoms of PTSD often cause problems for individuals in their relationships with others. Family, marital, and work problems may result. In addition, patients with stress disorders have an increased risk for developing other anxiety, mood, and substance-related disorders. For these reasons it is important for the person suffering with PTSD to follow reasonable recommendations made by their caregiver .
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