Will people with PTSD get better?

“Getting better” is the first thing people look for. There are various treatment options for PTSD. For a lot of people, these treatments can help them get rid of symptoms altogether. Some find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don’t have to hinder your everyday activities, work, and relationships.


What treatment options are available for PTSD?

There are mainly two types of treatment, psychotherapy (also known as counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes people combine both psychotherapy and medication.


Psychotherapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves consulting a therapist.

  • Trauma-focused psychotherapy, which stresses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, is the most helpful treatment for PTSD. There are different kinds of trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as:
    • Prolonged Exposure (PE) is a method where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until the memories no longer upset you. This helps you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. 
    • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to figure out how trauma changed your feelings and thoughts. By changing how you think about the trauma can change how you feel.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which involves focusing on hand movements and sounds while you talk about the trauma. This helps your brain work through traumatic memories.


Medications for PTSD

Medications are effective too. Certain SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), which are administered for depression, also work well for PTSD. These include paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine and fluoxetine.


Whom do I contact for help with PTSD? 

  • If you are in an urgent crisis, please visit your nearest Emergency Room or call 911.
  • The National Center for PTSD does not offer direct clinical care but does provide links and information to help you find mental health services in your area.


How can I help a family member who has PTSD?

It is essential to learn about PTSD so you can understand its nature, how it is treated, and what you can do to help. However, you should also take care of yourself. Changes in family life can be stressful, and taking care of yourself will make it easier to cope.