Hold the Pills Please: Treating PTSD
I had previously written an article about my frustration with what seems to be the easiest form of treating PTSD…..pills, pills, and more pills. According to an article on www.army.mil up to 25 percent of military who spend time in a war/combat zone and up to six percent who do not go to war will experience symptoms of PTSD. Considering our country makes up one of the largest military forces in the world, the number suffering from PTSD can be overwhelming. It is easy to see how with the pressure of trying to treat as many people as you can, putting them on meds as a way to start some sort of treatment would be the quickest and easiest solution.
I would like to say that I am by no means anti-medication. As a matter of fact, my husband has PTSD and is currently taking medication. However, we have been very careful to make sure he isn’t on too many medications and we research everything he takes. I would took some time looking into some other forms of treatment being used that could help eliminate the potential of excess medication.
Let’s talk therapy…counseling….shrink hour, whatever it is you want to call it. My husband has been going to his therapist for over four years and I promise you that if he misses a few appointments, I CAN TELL! So what I am really saying is that in my house, counseling works. Depending on how severe the PTSD case is, counseling can be monthly, weekly or in some cases multiple sessions a week. Why does it work you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, let me tell you.
- Counseling is a way to admit there is a problem or that you are struggling with something. We have heard our whole lives that admitting to an issue is the first step in just about anything.
- You get to tell your story and how it makes you feel, however traumatic, gruesome, horrifying or sad without the judgment and inappropriate comments we sometimes get from friends, family or colleagues. You have now entered the safe, judgment free zone!
- There is someone to help you identify your triggers; those things that out of nowhere can set you off without any warning.
- Not only do you learn to identify your triggers, you start to work on coping with them and learning methods to avoid meltdowns or tempers flaring out of control.
- You learn to accept the items that are out of your control and work on the items that you can control.
Another great form of treatment is support groups. Obviously, finding the right one that you can feel comfortable in can sometimes be challenging, but once you do a new “band of brothers” can be formed. What are the advantages of a support group?
- Realizing that you are not suffering alone. There is nothing more therapeutic or enlightening than realizing you are not the only one going through the same thing.
- You can compare notes on treatments that work/don’t work, great resources/organizations that you have found to be helpful or even comparing triggers or situations that tend to activate the PTSD.
- You can share you stories; talk about who you lost, who you saved, who saved you, where you fought, where you wish you’d fought, what brought you to this group.
- You can learn new skills on how to deal with PTSD.
Except for medication, these seem to be the most used methods of treatment. As in any situation, the main thing is to discover what works for you. God didn’t make us all alike, so there is a good chance that what works for most, may not work for you. The great news is that these are not the only options and maybe we can explore these options together!