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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Diagnostics

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious mental health condition that needs treatment due to its potential negative implications. The symptoms include repeated reliving (nightmares, flashbacks, hallucinations), avoidance (avoiding people, places, and situations reminding the traumatic event), increased arousal (insomnia, anger outbursts, excessive emotions, difficulty concentrating), and negative mood (bad memories, blame) (American Psychiatric Association 271). Depending on the severity of the condition, the client can be recommended several treatment approaches.

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The most effective strategies include cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure, and pharmacological therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proved to be the most effective approach and is the first-hand intervention. This treatment approach entails a focus on feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, as well as the change of behavioral patterns (Watkins et al. 5). Prolonged exposure therapy encompasses activities aiming at teaching the client to approach the trauma-related memories and thoughts effectively. The patient gradually understands that these feelings and thoughts are not dangerous and can be managed effectively (Watkins et al. 3).

Cognitive processing therapy involves training the client to modify the thoughts and beliefs related to the trauma. The patient develops a new understanding of trauma and related ideas (Watkins et al. 4). It is possible to use these treatment approaches separately, or a combination of these therapies can also be applied, depending on the symptoms.

If the client does not display improvement during the first weeks of treatment, or the symptoms are rather severe, it is possible to prescribe medications (sertraline, fluoxetine, and paroxetine) (Watkins et al. 6). Medication is also used if the symptoms have considerable adverse effects on the client’s life. It is noteworthy that a considerable number of patients tend to prefer cognitive behavioral therapy to medication use.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed., New School Library, 2013.

Watkins Laura E., et al. “Treating PTSD: A Review of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Interventions.” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 12, 2018, pp. 1-9.

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