Post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT. CBT involves addressing your irrational thoughts about a situation or trigger, and addressing your maladaptive behaviors which attempt to reduce the anxiety, but which instead serve to maintain your PTSD symptoms.
To learn about what exactly PTSD is, please click here.
Let’s say you are triggered by any reminder of the trauma, such as returning to the scene of the near-fatal car accident. This reminder may trigger you to have flashbacks about the accident, and/or to have nightmares about the accident. You then think the trauma (car accident) is still recurring, and this induces the same fear and anxiety you had when the trauma was occurring.
The anxiety makes you want to avoid any reminders of the trauma, the car accident. So you try to escape the situation as fast as possible, and you avoid future triggers to prevent the anxiety- you avoid going back to the scene of the accident. You also are on guard for any further danger, and you constantly scan your environment for any sign of danger- you make sure when you are in the car to be on guard for any possible future collisions.
But when you avoid, you maintain the belief that the trauma is still occurring. You never get to find out that by just staying with your triggers, the anxiety will eventually go away on its own, and you never get to find out that the trauma is in the past, and not recurring presently.
So the task of treatment with CBT is to gradually expose you to your fears, and to institute relaxation techniques to calm the anxiety associated with the exposures. Eventually, you become desensitized to the triggers, and with further exposures, you are able to handle the triggers without significant anxiety. If your anxiety is overwhelming, then you may talk with your doctor to consider prescription medications for anxiety.
Other options include CBT-guided self-help treatment with Anxiety Protocol and natural supplement treatment with KalmPro: