CBT is most effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


PTSD_TraumaTherapy is being used more and more in cases of both regular and acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Not only is it thought to be just as effective as medication, but it reduces the chances of relapse and eliminates the possible side effects which accompany most PTSD medication. Anti-depressants, typically used to treat PTSD patients, such as Zoloft and Xanax, carry a host of unpleasant side effects, like decreased libido, confusion and even aggression.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, has been heralded as one of the most effective treatments for mental disorders, such as PTSD, where anxiety and depression are the dominating factors. It works by encouraging the patient to open up about how they feel and react to certain situations. Once the patient’s thought (cognitive) process has been established, the therapist and patient are then able to work together to change negative patterns and coping strategies, and ultimately prevent unnecessary anxiety. In the case of a PSTD sufferer, the therapist would encourage the patient to talk about their traumatising experience, how it made them feel and how it makes them feel now. They will possibly get them to relive the event in order to confront it. Instead of masking the problem, like medication can do, CBT allows the patient to come to terms with their traumatic event; instead of running they can tackle it head on. This not only helps the patient in the short term, making them feel better after sharing their experience, but long term they are equipped to deal with unpleasant memories and therefore less likely to relapse.

During a CBT session for a PTSD sufferer who has been attacked, for example, the therapist may first ask the patient to relive their experience and describe it, then, when the trauma is occurring, the therapist will ask the patient how they’re feeling and what negative thoughts or feelings automatically came to mind. They can then find a way to challenge these exaggerated belief, develop more realistic perspectives, and find ways to cope with them if they happen again.

CBT is particularly helpful when it comes to anxiety-related disorders, exactly like PTSD, where anxiety overrides reason. On average, CBT also takes less time than other methods of treatment for anxiety disorders. However, other talking methods, such as support groups, can also be beneficial. 

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For more information about PTSD and the latest research, check out this helpful guide written by my colleague Laura Chapman. Laura is a freelance writer for many mental and physical health sites. Click here. _ Laura says, “According to the National Institute for Mental Health, approximately 7.7 million Americans are coping with PTSD. The signs are not always easy to spot, but I hope this guide can make a small difference.” 

2 Comments on “CBT is most effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”

  1. Holly Scott says:

    Noah, thanks for sharing the information on the effectiveness of CBT when treating PTSD. Your statement about CBT of:

    “Not only is it thought to be just as effective as medication, but it reduces the chances of relapse and eliminates the possible side effects which accompany most PTSD medication.”

    is such an important point. Preventing, or minimizing relapse with PTSD is a key goal of treatment. CBT gives the person effective tools for living everyday life as they move forward after PTSD.


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