Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Approaches


One of the psychiatric conditions that affect the ability of a person to function and adversely impact their psychological wellbeing is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a condition that can affect persons who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or major injury. Other causes include experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist attack, war, combat, or rape (Lenferink et al., 2020). The medical professional selects the treatment method that is more suitable for the particular patient case. Additionally, there are some novel approaches to the treatment of PTSD, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) (Cuijpers et al., 2020; Romero-Sanchiz et al., 2022). This paper will analyse and critically reflect on two approaches to treating PTSD, which are psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in particular, and medication. In addition, this paper will focus on the analysis of CBT and medication therapy as these are the traditional methods for treating PTSD.

The First Treatment Option

The first approach to treating PTSD is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Studies by Jalal et al. (2018), Rodriguez et al. (2018), and Zemestani et al. (2022) suggest that CBT is an effective method for addressing many psychological conditions, including PTSD. La Berre (2019) describes how CBT can aid in the reduction of PTSD symptoms and assist the treatment process, which underlines the mechanisms that are the basis of treatment. Moreover, according to Beauchamp et al. (2019), CBT techniques help the patient with PTS form better and more helpful perceptions of themselves and their experiences, assisting the healing process. CBT therapists may encourage patients to re-evaluate their thinking patterns and assumptions in order to identify unhelpful patterns, which are called distortions (Garrett et al., 2018; Ross et al., 2021). CBT provides the patient with ways to respond in a healthy way to aspects that are reminiscent of the trauma (Moring et al., 2020). Another benefit of CBT is teaching relaxation techniques (Partlow & Birkley, 2022). According to Maples-Keller et al. (2022), CBT works because it addresses psychological issues directly and provides practical advice on managing your life in the shadow of PTSD.

However, not all cases of PTSD can be addressed with CBT as a first-line method. CBT only reduces the most severe manifestations of depression but does not change the mindset of patients. Schumm et al. (2022) confirm this idea by stating that CBT is not capable of changing patients’ core beliefs. Moreover, in some diseases, CBT techniques will be ineffective. Among them, Vancappel et al. (2022) highlight severe mental disorders, mental conditions that threaten the life and health of the patient, his relatives and environment, and psychoses in the acute stage. Furthermore, Moring et al. (2020) note that a contraindication for CBT is mental retardation since patients will not be able to perform the tasks of a psychotherapist as they will not understand the requirements and recommendations. Thus, in some cases, cognitive behavioural therapy can be used as an auxiliary element to the main drug course of treatment. Thus, the main disadvantages of CBT are the inability to change core beliefs and inefficiency when working with patients with certain diseases.

The Second Treatment Option

The second method used to treat PTSD is medication. Considering the method of medications from the perspective of patients, this treatment can be easier to implement and maintain compared to the others. Maples-Keller et al. (2022) note that drug treatment reduces the severity of PTSD manifestations and can be included in the complex of measures for the treatment of PTSD. Although the scholarship on the useful medications for PTSD is broad, there are still some areas for development. For instance, Jumaili et al. (2022) studied the effect of ketamine on PTSD patients and concluded that the effects of medication on individuals with this diagnosis are understudied. For persistent PTSD symptoms, ketamine proved to be a rapid, safe, and very effective pharmacological intervention. There is no link between ketamine potency and patient age, gender, or BMI (Jumaili et al., 2022). Nevertheless, there are many medications which effect is extensively analysed.

In fact, in the U.K. and other developed countries, only several medications were approved for the use and treatment of PTSD. According to Baig and Roache (2021), sertraline and paroxetine, both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the only two drugs authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of PTSD (Moraes Costa, 2020). It seems that the variety of the approved medications is low, so some push from academic researchers can raise attention to the issue.

To be more concrete, there is a need to analyse a particular medication, so here it will be paroxetine. It is an antidepressant that affects the brain, causing the reduction of anxiety and depression. The research shows the effectiveness of paroxetine concerning PTSD among children and adolescents (Kowalska et al., 2021). The studies also show the increase in popularity of paroxetine in the future, predicting the rise from $211.4 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion in 2028 (Kowalska et al., 2021). However, there can be some serious side effects of paroxetine usage. Some of the examples are headache, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating (Wang, 2021). In addition, it is important to avoid overconsumption of paroxetine, as people usually do it (Duek et al., 2021; Tripp et al., 2021). Hence, nurses should explain to their patients the danger of antidepressants overdose before prescribing them.

It is important to repeat again that medication remains to be an understudied method for PTSD treatment and should be applied under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Medication helps to minimise the symptoms of PTSD but cannot eliminate them. Treating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder without understanding the root of the problem can lead to negative outcomes.


Overall, this paper is an analysis of PTSD and the two treatment approaches for this condition. PTSD is a mental health condition that develops when an individual is exposed to severe stress such as war action or anything that can cause severe stress. Currently, cognitive behavioural therapy is considered one of the most effective methods for treating PTSD. As part of CBT, the patient is taught techniques to reduce anxiety and avoid repetitive images leading to distress. An important role in CBT is also played by identifying and changing the patient’s meaning to the traumatic event. This approach deals with the patient’s negative beliefs and ineffective coping strategies that keep the symptoms of PTSD alive. However, this method has disadvantages associated with the impossibility of its application in the case of serious mental disorders and changes in deep-seated beliefs.

Medications may also be used to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They often help minimise PTSD symptoms but may not eliminate them. It further emphasises the importance of therapy, as symptoms may persist even with medication. Moreover, medications can cause side effects. Thus, there is no single, universal method applied to the treatment of PTSD. Therapy must be versatile, affecting different spheres of life; otherwise, all levels of traumatisation will not be processed in the process of work. Therefore, further study of this issue is needed to analyse the effectiveness of CBT and medication in PTSD.


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