Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Guidelines

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Effective Treatment Intervention for Ptsd

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Ptsd) is the disorder that this research will discuss alone with the Cognitive Behavior Therapy as the most effective intervention used in treating this disorder. This disorder occurs after one has been through a Traumatic event, and a Traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger and you may also feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening.

What Is Ptsd? /How does it develop? /What are the Symptoms? PTSD is an Anxiety disorder that can occur after one have been through a traumatic event; e.g. the recent collapsed of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis and St.Paul, combat or military exposure, child sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attacks, sexual or physical assault, and serious accidents, such as wreck, natural disasters, such as fire, tornado, hurricane, flood or earthquake. After anyone of the above named events, one may feel scared, confused, and angry. If these feelings do not go away, or they get worse, you may have PTSD. PTSD is also a medically recognized disorder that occurs in normal individuals under extremely stressful conditions. It affects people from all walks of life, including those who provide emergency services for others. Some people who survive a traumatic event are affected so strongly by the experience that they are unable to live normal lives. (Unknown).

These symptoms may disrupt your life, marking it hard to continue with your daily activities. PTSD start soon after the traumatic event, and there are four types of symptoms, namely: (1) re-living/ re-experiencing symptoms, (2) avoidance symptoms, (3) emotional numbing symptoms and (4) feeling keyed up (arousal /hyper-arousal). (Foa, Keane, & Friedman, 2000).

The re-living or re-experiencing symptom is when the person has flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive memories and exaggerated emotional and physical reactions to triggers that remind them of the trauma, the avoidance is when the person avoid activities, people, or places that remind them of the trauma, emotional numbing, is when the person feel detached, lack of emotions (especially positive ones), loss of interest in activities and finally the feeling keyed is when the person have difficulty sleeping and concentrating, irritability, hyper vigilance (being on guard), and exaggerated startle response. (Unknown, 2005).

What Interventions/Treatments are available for PTSD? In our society today, after many years of research, there are a lot of treatments/ interventions that are available for PTSD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of counseling that appears to be the most effective type for Treating Ptsd. There are other different types of interventions such as exposure therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (Emdr), Psychological Debriefing (PD), and medications, which have also proven to be effective. Most of these Treatments For Ptsd have been studied using experimental and statistical methods. Thus, at the present time, there is both clinical and scientific knowledge about what treatment modalities help patients with posttrauma problems. (Foa et al.)

In using Cognitive therapy, the therapist will help the patient understand and change how they think about trauma and its aftermath, and also help them understand that the traumatic event they lived through was not their fault. This intervention helps patient deal with their feelings about the past through weekly hour-long visits for a few weeks or months, or as long as it takes the patient to feel better. This intervention also help patient have fewer Ptsd Symptoms over time. Initial case studies of the behavioral Treatment Of Ptsd appeared in the early 1980’s. The efficacy of Cognitive behavioral procedures in the Treatment Of Ptsd was proven by two methodologically strong clinical trials employing women who experienced rape. (Foa, Rothman, Riggs, & Murdock, 1991). One systematic review found that CBT reduced rates of PTSD compared with no treatment, Stress Management, supportive Psychotherapy, psychodynamic Psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or hypnotherapy. (Bisson, 2006). There are more published well-controlled studies on CBT (over 30 years) than on any other Ptsd Treatment, this what makes CBT the most effective intervention to treat PTSD. CBT treatments usually involve a good therapist-patient relationship. In general, CBT methods have proven very effective in producing significant reductions in Ptsd Symptoms (generally 60-80%) in several civilian populations, especially rape survivors. (Unknown, 2005).

Psychological Debriefing (PD) is an early intervention used in the treatment of PTSD in order to prevent the onset of PTSD. This method has been considered a “mandatory” intervention and has been endorsed by the American Red Cross and several relief agencies around the globe (Litz, Gray, Bryant, & Adler, 2002), yet it has also incited warnings of contraindication from twenty renowned trauma experts shortly after 9/11. (Herbert et al. 2001). Psychological debriefing is usually considered a type of crisis intervention delivered within hours to a few days of a trauma and is designed to mitigate cute Symptoms Of Stress and to prevent the emergence of Posttraumatic psychopathology. (Choe, 2005). During the research, it was realized that Traumatic Experiences can lead to the development of several different Disorders, including major Depression, specific phobias, personality Disorders such as borderline Anxiety disorder, and Panic Disorder, but this research is on the treatment of PTSD and its symptoms as defined in the fourth edition of the DSM-IV of the American Psychiatric Association. (Foa et al., 2000). Most of the above named interventions /treatments have still to undergo scientific research and validations. Research also show that most studies used inclusion and exclusion criteria in order to define participants appropriately, and each study may not fully represent the complete spectrum of patient seeking treatment.

It is believed that most randomized clinical trials with combat (mostly Vietnam) veterans showed less treatment efficacy while using CBT than with nonveterans whose PTSD was related to other Traumatic Experiences (e.g., sexual assaults, accidents, natural disasters), therefore combat Veterans With Ptsd are less responsive to treatment than survivors of other traumas, but this has not been scientifically proven. It is to be noted that early detection, prevention, and identification of risk factors of PTSD should be consider in this research, but it is unfortunate that there is no research to support this idea.

During this research, concerns were raised as to whether the age of patients affected the treatment outcome. There have not being any conclusive data about this concern, which was very strange. It was also realized that treatment/intervention for PTSD clients are not necessarily the same, because some target Ptsd Symptom reduction as the major clinical outcome by which efficacy should be judge, (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy, eye movement desensitization and processing), while other treatments emphasize the capacity to enrich the assessment or therapeutic process rather than the ability to improve PTSD symptoms, (e.g., hypnosis, art therapy, and psychoanalysis) (Foa et al., 2000). 

Most of the empirical research done on the treatment intervention used for Treating Ptsd failed to take into consideration the cultural diversity of the clients with respect to trauma. It is good to not in this paper that CBT was the only intervention that have over thirty years of study with respect to treating PTSD. Other interventions like Psychological Debriefing (PD), Pharmacotherapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing have no or little empirical evidence on their efficacy.

It is also good to note in this paper that some of the above named interventions are very effective with some patients due to their traumatization but not all patients will respond to the same intervention/treatment in the same way. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Emdr) is a cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is one of the many interventions that is effective in treating PTSD that was developed in 1987 to desentize clients to distressing memories, feelings, and cognitions and to replace negative cognitions with positive one. (Chemtob, Nakashima, & Carlson, 2002)





Bisson, J. (2006). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. American Academy of Family Physicians, 73(1),

Chemtob, C. M., Nakashima, J., & Carlson, J. G. (2002). Brief Treatment for Elementary School Children with Disaster-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Field Study. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 99-112.

Choe, I. (2005). The Debate over Psychological Debriefing for PTSD. The New School Psychology Bulletin, 3(2),

Deblinger, E., Stauffer, L. B., & Steer, R. A. (2001). Comparative Efficacies of Supportive and Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapies for Young Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused and Their Nonoffending Mothers. Child Maltreatment, 6(4), 332-343.

Foa, E. B., Keane, T. M., & Friedman, M. J. (2000). Guidelines for Treatment of PTSD. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13(4),

Foa, H. B., Rothman, B. O., Riggs, D. S., & Murdock, R. B. (1991). Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Rape Victims: A Comparison between Cognitive-Behavioral Procedures and Counseling. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 99, 20-35.

Herbert, J. D., Lilienfeld, S., Kline, J., Montgomery, R., Lohr, J., & Brandsma, L. (11, November 2001). Primun non nocere [Open Letter]. Retrieved August 1, 2007, from

Keane, T. M., & Kaloupek, D. G. (1996). Cognitive Behavior Therapy in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The Clinical Psychologist, 49(1), 7-8.

Lange, J. T., & Lange, L. C. (2000). Primary Care Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. American Academy of Family Physician, 62(5),

Litz, B. T., Gray, M. T., Bryant, R., & Adler, A. B. (2002). Early Intervention for Trauma: Current Status and Future Directions. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 9, 112-134.

Rubin, Ph.D, A. (March 2003). Unanswered Questions about the Empirical Support for EMDR in the Treatment of PTSD: A review of research. Traumatology, 9(1),

Trowell, J., Kolvin, I., Weeramanthri, T., Sadowski, H., Berelowitz, M., Glasser, D., et al. (2002). Psychotherapy for Sexually abused girls: Psychopathological outcome findings and patterns of change. British Journal of Psychiatry, 180, 234-247.

Unknown. (2005, October 23). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms, Types and Treatment. Retrieved July 29, 2007, from

(Rubin, 2003)

About the Author

Omentus Alan N’debe Korlison hails from Liberia, West Africa, and is a candidate for the Doctoral Degree in Psychology (Organizational Leadership) at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and a graduate of the Wilmington University of Delaware with two Masters degree, one in Community Counseling and the other in the Administration of Justice (Criminal Justice), and a Bachelors in Economics from the West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

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October 6th, 2011 at 11:06 pm

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