If you’ve lived through a dangerous or threatening event and are having difficulty managing the emotions and symptoms that come afterward, you may be facing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This mental health condition is serious, and knowing when to reach out for help is critical.
If you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD or think you may meet criteria for a diagnosis, the next step in your journey is to seek out professional care. Don’t wait for PTSD symptoms to disappear on their own— get the treatment you need.
Treatment for PTSD
When you’re struggling to overcome a traumatic event, it can be hard to know when you need professional intervention, what kind of treatment you need and how to access care. The good news is that you won’t have to answer these tricky clinical questions on your own when you reach out for help.
Here’s what you’ll want to know as you’re getting started with treatment.
Making the call to start treatment
Healing and managing PTSD can seem like an arduous battle, but you’ll never walk the road alone, even from the very first step. A mental health professional (usually a doctor or a psychologist) can help you determine whether PTSD is severe enough to warrant treatment.
He or she can also help you decide which level of care is most appropriate for your needs. Chances are, any diagnosis of PTSD should receive some form of treatment.
This takes the form of an intake assessment, and consists of several questions regarding:
- Demographic information
- Presenting symptoms
- Mental health history (i.e. additional diagnoses)
- Family mental health history
- Physical health information
- And more
Based on this assessment, you’ll be advised and directed to the most applicable level of care.
There are two main levels of care, inpatient PTSD treatment and outpatient PTSD treatment. Inpatient, or residential, means that patients stay overnight in a facility. These programs are designed to offer the most rigorous supervision and intervention for those whose needs are more dire.
For example, someone who struggles to manage the depression symptoms of PTSD and is a danger to himself will require PTSD residential treatment. These programs have resources and support available 24/7 for physical and emotional needs.
Outpatient treatment is a step down from residential treatment and means that individuals return to home, school or work in between sessions. If you hear about intensive outpatient programs, that means participants engage in treatment for more than seven hours a day. Regular outpatient programs may occur after work or school.
A continuum of care
Most PTSD treatment centers use a continuum of care, meaning that treatment is available on a scale for the most severe cases to the most mild. Whether your symptoms are causing excruciating distress at every moment or you are able to function in your daily life with minor issues, you’ll find a level that meets you where you are.
A continuum of care also means that as your needs change, you can easily slide into more or less intensive care. For example, you may find that inpatient PTSD treatment is necessary for the first few weeks, then move on to outpatient treatment as symptoms decrease. If symptoms worsen at any point, a return to inpatient treatment can be easily accommodated.
Each level of care has unique benefits, and you’ll be expertly matched when you get connected with a treatment center near you.
Signs of PTSD
While understanding the different levels of care can help you envision what the treatment programs will look like, it can be tricky to know when it’s time to reach out. Here’s what to look for when you’re having trouble overcoming trauma.
Residential treatment for PTSD signs:
- You have recurring memories of the traumatic event
- You struggle to rein in thoughts and mental images relating to the trauma
- You experience flashbacks that produce severe reactions
- It takes a significant amount of energy to avoid people, places and things that remind you of the trauma
- You are emotionally withdrawn, angry, easily irritated or on-edge
- You struggle to feel happy or like yourself
- You engage in self-destructive behavior
- You have turned to substance use to manage your symptoms
Outpatient treatment for PTSD signs:
- You are able to manage important tasks like work or school
- You struggle to do tasks some days, but are able to do them normally most days
- You have days when no symptoms are present
- You are able to maintain important relationships
- You are able to think about the traumatic event without serious emotions reactions
- You have processed the traumatic event
- Your reactions to memories or thoughts of the trauma have become less intense with time
- You have developed skills to handle distress
These criteria are by no means exhaustive or binding. They are simply meant to offer confirmation if you think you may be in need of treatment. Your best bet is to get a professional opinion.
Get the help of compassionate care providers at Real Recovery Sober Living. With programs specifically designed for the unique needs of men and women, you’ll feel safe and nurtured so you can focus on healing. Call today.