PTSD resolution. Yes, PTSD can be eliminated!
Modern approaches to the PTSD resolution assume that the ordinary person is confronted with an abnormal event. Thus, to reduce the impact of painful consequences, an emphasis should be made on mobilization of personal coping mechanisms of the patient. This is quite different from the prior assumptions, according to which PTSD occurs as a result of pathological neurotic mechanisms. This belief includes the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD in the traditional paradigm of the mental health treatment. Therefore, the first method of PTSD resolution – is the normalization principle.
The process of emotional “healing” often involves re-experiencing of the trauma, avoidance, hypersusceptibility and self-blame. Considering this fact, the second principle of PTSD resolution is the principle of partnership and maintenance of the patient dignity. Cruelty, humiliation and a sense of powerlessness – all this leads to decreased self-conception. This is normal due to the severity of victimization. But the survivors of natural disasters experience the same feelings, though they were not subjected to violence and humiliation. Thus, a therapeutic alliance, based on the principles of partnership and normalization of personal dignity, brings great benefits.
The third principle of PTSD resolution – is the principle of identity. Each person has their own path to recovery after the experienced stress. Although there have been described general physiological and psychological responses to stress, many researchers point out the complexity of the human stress responses, comparing one’s unique stress symptoms with the fingerprints.
There are many methods for PTSD correction. All methods can be divided into four categories:
- Educational category, – includes a discussion of books and articles, basic awareness of physiological and psychological concepts to evaluate the severity of disorder. For example, a simple awareness of the clinical PTSD symptoms helps patients realize that their feelings and difficulties are not unique, and it gives them hope for support and effective treatment.
- The second category includes the principles of holistic healing. It is proved that physical activity, healthy eating, spirituality and a sense of humor contributes to healing the whole person. A doctor, who turns the attention of his patients to the holistic aspects of human existence, often finds and activates such abilities to recover after the severe traumatic events, which also contributes to prolongation of active and happy life.
- The third category includes methods, increasing social support and integration. This category usually includes family and group therapy. It may also include the development of self-help network and support of noncommercial organizations. A careful evaluation of social skills, training these skills, elimination of irrational fears and support in overcoming difficulties in building new relationships is very important.
- The fourth category is best described as a therapy. It involves working on grief, elimination of phobic reactions by working on associated traumatic images, rational use of drugs to address certain symptoms, narrative trauma retelling, role-playing, hypnotherapy and other kinds of individualized therapy, which correspond to the basic principles of mental therapy.
The major purposes of drug treatment for PTSD include:
- reduction of clinical symptoms, including phobic anxiety and depressive disorders, intrusive memories, signs of autonomic dysfunction and sleep disorders;
- minimization of emotional consequences and disruptive effects of trauma, moral support and reduction of guilt.
Psychotherapy helps PTSD patients “reprocess” their problems and handle the symptoms, induced by traumatic memories. One of the most effective approaches – is to help the patient respond to traumatic experience, retelling and re-experiencing the thoughts and feelings, associated with the trauma in safe therapeutic conditions. All this allows to cope with reactions that previously were uncontrollable.