24/7 HELP

Psychological Health Resource Center
For Psychological Health Information and Resources
866-966-1020
Live Chat
For Crisis Intervention for Service Members, Veterans and Families
800-273-8255
Press "1"
Learn more about the Real Warriors app
Download the Real Warriors app at the Apple App Store
realstrength.realwarriors.net
Campaign Materials
Message Boards
Average: 2.9 (8 votes)

Treatment Options for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

soldiers standing observing sunset

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John A. Martinez Jr.

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychological health concern that can happen after any traumatic event on or off the battlefield. Common reactions include trouble sleeping, nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of isolation, self-blame, irritability, avoiding reminders of a traumatic event and others.

Fortunately, if you or someone you know is experiencing PTSD, there are many effective treatment options. It is important to talk to a health care provider as soon as possible. This is especially true if any of your symptoms last more than a month or effect your daily life.

Getting Care

A health care professional can determine if your symptoms are from PTSD or something else. Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD. About 3 percent of active duty service members are coping with PTSD. Among veterans, estimates vary widely. Some studies show that more than 13 percent of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan screened positive for PTSD. Other studies estimate as many as 20-30 percent cope with PTSD.

If you are having difficulties, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center or call the Military Crisis Line. They can help point you in the right direction.

For those who do develop PTSD, getting treatment helps. During your visit, a health care professional will talk with you about your trauma and symptoms. Then, they will work with you to develop a custom treatment plan that is best for you.
 

Treating PTSD

There are many treatment options available for PTSD. Because no two people experience PTSD the exact same way, it is important to be open and honest with your health care provider. There are resources available to help you prepare to talk about your symptoms. Questions you may want to ask your provider include:

  • What is PTSD and do I have it?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What can I expect from treatment?

If your health care provider determines you have PTSD, some common and effective treatments they may suggest include:

  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy: You will write down or speak out loud about trauma and confront traumatic memories until they are less painful.
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy: You will learn skills to change problematic beliefs, thoughts, and feelings following one or more traumatic experiences.
  • Stress Inoculation Training: You will learn breathing and muscle relaxation skills and practice controlling your thoughts.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: You will focus on sounds and alternate eye and hand movements as you remember a trauma.

Your provider may prescribe medications as part of your treatment plan. It is important to take all medications exactly as directed. Your provider may also suggest Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). CAM may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation or mindfulness practices
  • Yoga
  • Breathing techniques
  • Biofeedback

Reaching Out Makes a Difference

Getting help for any psychological health concern, including PTSD, keeps you mission ready and sets you up for career success. For an example, watch the video profile of Army Maj. Jeff Hall who began treatment for PTSD after reaching out to his commanding officer.

Reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center 24/7 to confidentially speak with trained health resource consultants. Call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.

 

Additional Resources:

PDF formatted documents require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software. If you do not already have this software installed on your computer, please download it from Adobe's Website.