Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after suffering a major injury or traumatic event – such as that experienced by 9-11 first responders – can adversely impact every area of a person’s life. It can affect your relationships and your job, the way you cope with the accident, and the way you conduct yourself within society.
PTSD can also:
- cause emotional and memory problems;
- impair your outlook on and happiness in life;
- increase risk of substance abuse; and
- manifest itself with physical symptoms.
Fortunately, there are a few PTSD treatments that experts believe might be effective for patients. The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) rates PTSD treatments based on the amount of supportive empirical evidence. The ISTSS has given the highest “A” rating to each of the following five treatments.
Several forms of psychotherapy have shown to be beneficial for PTSD patients, one of which is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). One type of CBT that has earned the ISTSS’s “A” rating is known as cognitive-processing therapy.
In cognitive-processing therapy, practitioners will help patients develop strategies to alter erroneous thinking about their accident and injuries, and help them develop new beliefs that focus on self-appreciation, self-esteem, and acceptance.
Stress-inoculation training is actually another type of CBT. It involves learning ways to reduce anxiety and manage stress levels, two of the primary symptoms of PTSD.
In stress-inoculation, practitioners will usually help patients learn and utilize techniques such as:
- muscle relaxation;
- positive self-talk; and
- breathing exercises..
In this treatment the therapist actually helps the client re-live the traumatic memories in a controlled setting. This mental, guided visualization exercise is geared toward helping victims regain control over their thoughts and feelings surrounding the incident through controlled, prolong exposure to the event.
These exercises are done in a gradual, progressive manner, and the end result is that victims will learn to grasp they can safely return to any emotions or circumstances that they have been avoiding.
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
With eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatments, the therapist guides the patient through an exercise in which the patient follows the therapist’s rapid back-and-forth finger motions. The patient will then simultaneously recount the traumatic incident as their eyes are making rapid movements. EMDR is a widely-used PTSD cognitive therapy, although the science behind EMDR is still unclear.
Medications for PTSD
Medications are also used in conjunction with therapies to treat PTSD. The American Psychiatric Association primarily recommends selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for people with non-combat-related PTSD.
SSRIs that physicians may prescribe include:
- fluoxetine (Prozac);
- sertraline (Zoloft); and
- paroxetine (Paxil).
According to MedicineNet.com, other medications that may be part of a PTSD treatment plan include:
- prazosin (Minipress);
- clonidine (Catapres);
- guanfacine (Tenex);
- lamotrigine (Lamictal);
- tiagabine (Gabitril);
- divalproex sodium (Depakote);
- risperidone (Risperdal);
- olanzapine (Zyprexa); and
- quetiapine (Seroquel).
Legal Questions about PTSD and Disability Claims
If you have any questions regarding how your PTSD affects your disability or if you’re having trouble getting the benefits to which you’re entitled, call our attorneys at Markhoff & Mittman, serving New York City and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us determine how we may be of service to you – 866-205-2415 or 866-205-2415.