How Can Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

When people experience trauma and don’t address the psychological impact, this can be detrimental to their long-term mental health. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can significantly impact an individual, affecting all areas of their lives. This includes their ability to accomplish daily tasks and their relationships with family and friends. The negative symptoms associated with this mental health disorder can make a person feel overwhelmed.

However, using self-help strategies in combination with psychotherapy can help alleviate symptoms. Participating in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with 12 South Recovery can provide the professional and emotional support needed to move forward in a state of wellness.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PTSD is a mental health condition that an individual may develop after either witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. An individual may feel extremely shocked, petrified, and terror-stricken after experiencing any form of trauma.

PTSD can affect individuals of any age, race, gender, etc. This condition can result from experiencing a severe injury or feeling deeply threatened by something or someone. PTSD symptoms can result from being exposed to any of the following scenarios:

  • Natural disaster
  • War
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Community violence
  • An auto accident
  • Substance abuse
  • Sudden divorce
  • Medical trauma

What Is the Cause of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

As stated on the aforementioned (SAMSHA) webpage, PTSD can affect not only an individual’s life but also their surroundings. This can be especially so if an individual does not seek treatment. If the condition is left untreated, it can affect an individual’s mental health, ultimately leading to interpersonal issues with loved ones. PTSD can also lead to missed opportunities for a better future due to a co-occurring depressive illness and a lack of motivation.

Signs of PTSD may present themselves immediately after a tragic or stressful event. On the other hand, symptoms may surface months or even years after being exposed to trauma. 

Although there is no one specific cause of PTSD, a few risk factors may play a role in developing this mental health condition. An individual’s case may become severe if they are repeatedly exposed to trauma. For example, someone may experience persistent childhood trauma or stay in a relationship with domestic violence. These long-term forms of trauma can complicate the recovery process.

Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it is completely normal for an individual to experience the fight or flight response in the face of trauma. This is the brain’s natural response to help a person quickly react to danger. If an individual is facing symptoms of fight or flight for more than one month, however, they may meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD.

Depending on the severity of one’s condition, symptoms may interfere with a person’s work ethic, ability to complete day-to-day tasks, mood, and behaviors. Signs and symptoms related to PTSD can be different for every individual but some may include:

  • Intense flashbacks
  • Distressed thoughts
  • Night terrors
  • Avoidance
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or guarded
  • Insomnia
  • Engaging in destructive behaviors
  • Having aggressive behaviors
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Social isolation

How Can Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with 12 South Recovery Help?

According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), CBT has been clinically proven to be one of the best forms of psychotherapy to treat individuals with PTSD. This type of therapy provides an individual with both cognitive and behavioral approaches to addressing their ongoing symptoms.

CBT with 12 South Recovery targets how the individual currently feels, behaves, and perceives everyday life. The staff at 12 South understand that each of these factors has a decisive impact on our well-being. CBT therapy can help individuals with PTSD learn to change their negative thought patterns related to trauma by replacing them with a less harmful internal dialog. Through these sessions, individuals develop a more positive, realistic mindset.

The Importance of Self-Care In Combination with Professional Care

Although it can be highly beneficial for an individual with PTSD to choose professional treatment, practicing self-help strategies outside of treatment can enhance an individual’s ability to recover from past trauma. Taking the skills and tools learned from each session and putting them into action when met with PTSD triggers can make it easier to focus daily. Relationships with friends and family may be improved, a person may exhibit fewer aggressive behaviors, and one may feel less guarded in public. A self-care routine may consist of the following:

  • Staying well rested
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Getting daily exercise
  • Participating in sober activities
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Learning to forgive
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation

As the saying goes, time heals all wounds. However, time especially heals alongside the support from a team of mental health professionals and family and friends who care.

When left untreated, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can feel overwhelming. Nightmares, vivid flashbacks, and intense distress can be emotionally taxing. As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment Center, 12 South Recovery is equipped to provide effective treatments for PTSD. CBT with 12 South Recovery can provide the tools needed to safely cope with the negative effects of PTSD without the use of drugs or alcohol. By working with an expert mental health therapist at our facility, you can identify and change negative beliefs, emotions, and actions. You can also begin to manage challenging or stressful situations more effectively. If you or a loved one are facing challenges with PTSD, call us at (888) 830-8374 today.

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