Post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly abbreviated as PTSD, is on the rise. Once a condition relegated mainly to war veterans, PTSD is now observed in students who have never seen a war-torn battlefield.
The most common treatment for PTSD has historically been anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. Depending on the symptoms and severity, support groups can also be beneficial.
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a relatively new treatment method designed to manage the effects of post-traumatic stress. This article will explain some of the benefits of CPT therapy in treating PTSD and how it can help those suffering from debilitating symptoms.
A Brief Overview of PTSD
As the name implies, the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder usually follows a traumatic life event. Such an event could be an extended period of stress, the loss of a loved one, or any fear-inducing scenario.
Many people suffer from symptoms of PTSD without being formally diagnosed or treated. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, and increased heart rate with panic-attacks. There are more symptoms than these, and they can vary in severity.
A person who has PTSD can also be in a constant state of heightened emotional tension. This emotional state typically lends itself to violent outbursts or being easily disturbed and on edge. Those experiencing these emotional factors often find social events and interactions challenging.
CPT is a Game Changer in PTSD Treatment
CPT therapy takes a distinct approach in PTSD treatment by approaching things from a different perspective. Instead of masking the symptoms through pharmaceuticals, CPT focuses on managing and reducing PTSD symptoms by deconstructing harmful thoughts and beliefs.
A big part of post-traumatic stress is the resulting pain, hurt, and fear surrounding the trauma. Such feelings are usually not addressed with medication or even exacerbated by drug side-effects.
CPT provides a much-needed solution to help process the emotional pain and underlying issues beyond the physical layer. During the typical twelve-week treatment cycle, a patient undergoing cognitive processing therapy will learn how to process their trauma in a healthy way.
Why Cognitive Processing Therapy is Effective
Often after a traumatic event, the reflex will be to cover the hurt and pain with a protective layer of emotion. A person will attempt to protect themself from the event and pull away from it.
CPT will begin with emotional re-education, designed to teach the patient how to identify and analyze their thoughts and feelings. This first step is essential for beginning to manage PTSD’s effects.
The re-training of the mind will replace the fear, anxiety, and anger with a proper understanding of the trauma and circumstances surrounding it. Once the foundation of emotional healing has been laid, the patient can apply the same process to the rest of their life.
Cognitive processing therapy is not a quick fix, nor is it merely designed to mask symptoms. Instead, CPT guides the patient by processing their emotions and working through them to reach an actual resolution. In this way, cognitive processing therapy has the potential to achieve more profound emotional relief beyond medication alone.
There is Hope on the Horizon
While there are many misconceptions about PTSD, one thing is sure; it’s a real condition with potentially devastating effects. But there is hope. With the right treatments, PTSD is manageable.
Many people have successfully emerged from the depths of PTSD and live healthy, happy, and productive lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, there are effective treatments available, and with the proper support, the battle can be fought and won.