Best Ways to Treat Trauma

Healing and recovering from trauma is a personal and unique experience. One form of treatment may work wonders for a friend but not be very effective for you. Attempting a therapeutic treatment without results can be discouraging, but it’s important to remember that there’s more than one way to treat trauma. If you’re suffering from PTSD, ask your mental health professional to help you explore the various ways to treat trauma. 

What is emotional and psychological trauma?

Emotional and psychological trauma is an effect of a highly threatening or fearful situation that leads to ongoing stress, anxiety, and other behavioral, emotional, or psychological problems. Those who face emotional and psychological trauma often have a hard time coping and lack a sense of security. 

Emotional and psychological trauma can arise due to one event, such as a car accident or act of violence, or it can emerge from a continuous threat, such as bullying, neglect, or serving in a war zone. Experiencing the effects of trauma is referred to as PTSD in the mental health community. PTSD stands for Post-traumatic stress disorder. 

What puts you at risk for developing PTSD?

Of course, those who have experienced trauma are more likely to develop PTSD. However, PTSD doesn’t occur with every traumatic event. Some individuals may be more susceptible to facing symptoms of PTSD. For example, you may have a higher risk of developing PTSD if you’ve experienced trauma and you:

  • Have a history of mental health conditions, such as severe depression or anxiety
  • Suffered from addiction in the past
  • Lack a support system
  • Have poor health
  • Continue to live in a violent or threatening environment

What are the best treatments and therapies for PTSD?

There is a wide range of treatments and therapies for PTSD. Below is a list of some of the most common. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that examines the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy is that an improvement in one of these entities can affect another. For example, if you target negative thinking, discover ways to reframe thoughts about the trauma, and produce more positive thinking, this can directly improve behaviors and emotions.  

Behavioral Therapy/Exposure Therapy

Behavioral Therapy focuses on promoting healthy behaviors and reducing undesirable behaviors. One common subgroup of this therapy is Exposure Therapy. Exposure Therapy is used to treat PTSD by gradually re-introducing memories of the trauma so patients can mentally experience the event while being in a safe and comforting environment. The reoccurrence of the memory helps patients learn that the fear they experience is unwarranted. 

Brainspotting Therapy 

Brainspotting therapy was developed through a combination of Sensorimotor Therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to treat individuals suffering from both physical and psychological pain brought on by trauma. Brainspotting therapy posits that eye placement can affect emotions and the physical body. Therapists can help a patient detect a locked eye position that can create a sense of relief and comfort. Brainspotting is considered an advancing psychological approach to treating those with PTSD. 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is closely related to brainspotting therapy because it focuses on eye placement. Patients will focus on the traumatic event while visually focusing on an object, such as a light or a point on the wall. EMDR has proven to be an effective treatment for those who have experienced trauma. 

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of therapy that involves gathering with other individuals that have faced similar forms of trauma. Most group therapy sessions are led by mental health professionals or those who have reached a pivotal point in their recovery. Group therapy can come in the form of a support group where patients share memories of traumatic experiences or an educational group where patients can learn coping strategies with others. 

Medications

Medications have also been shown to be effective in treating PTSD. A psychiatrist can evaluate and assess an individual’s symptoms related to the trauma and recommend specific psychiatric prescription medications. 

What form of treatment is best for you?

When it comes to finding the best trauma treatment, it’s important to remember that no specific treatment works best for everyone. Everyone is on their own road to recovery, and each healing journey is unique. Some patients attempt several different treatments and therapies before finding the right one. 

Can PTSD be cured? 

While there is no specific “cure” for PTSD, individuals who commit to treatment can significantly improve their life. Most treatments involve targeting the symptoms and memories of the trauma to help victims of trauma learn to cope and manage negative, stressful, or fearful thoughts and feelings. 

In Conclusion

There is a wide variety of treatments out there for PTSD that have proven to be effective. If you’ve tried one form of therapy that has not been successful, it’s highly recommended to try other treatments. While some treatments can work well for some, they don’t necessarily work well for others. 

Treatments for trauma include cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, brainspotting therapy, EMDR, group therapy, and medication. Talk to your mental health professional about the various forms of PTSD treatment available to find the right one for you. Even though PTSD is not curable, committing to the right treatment can create lasting relief and substantial improvements in life.