PTSD Therapy Program: Treatment Options in Washington State
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD affects more than 8 million American adults. It is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. People with PTSD have intense, frightening or disturbing feelings and thoughts related to the inciting event that can last for years after the danger has passed. A PTSD therapy program can help such individuals recover from the psychological distress of the traumatic event.
The link between PTSD and addiction
PTSD and addiction share many common risk factors. For example, combat exposure is a well-known cause of PTSD and is also associated with an increased risk of heavy alcohol consumption and addiction. The need for an effective PTSD therapy program is underlined by the fact that approximately half of all individuals who seek treatment for substance use disorders meet the criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD.
What’s more, people with co-occurring addiction and PTSD typically have worse treatment outcomes compared to those with addiction alone. A specialized PTSD therapy program is necessary because people with PTSD often experience more intense cravings for alcohol and drugs and also tend to relapse more rapidly than people without PTSD.
For this reason, an effective, professional PTSD therapy program in Washington is especially important for people who are battling an addiction and experienced a traumatic event in the past.
PTSD Therapy Program: Types of treatments
The cornerstone of treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy. A PTSD therapy program relies on a range of evidence-based psychotherapy modalities that are customized to the needs of a client. An individualized PTSD treatment plan is necessary because everyone experiences trauma differently. Some people do not develop PTSD symptoms and therefore may not need a PTSD therapy program. On the other hand, other people may get better with the support of their family and friends. However, most people with post-traumatic stress disorder need a professional PTSD therapy program to recover.
In the following paragraphs, we describe some of the common treatment modalities used during a PTSD therapy program.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for PTSD
CBT is one of the most effective types of PTSD therapy programs available. The treatment focuses on identifying and understanding the source of a person’s psychological distress. The therapist guides the client in changing thinking patterns and behaviors. The duration of CBT for PTSD is typically 12-16 weeks of outpatient appointments every week. The skills learned during the CBT sessions can be applied lifelong to a variety of distressing or difficult situations.
Exposure Therapy for PTSD
This is a PTSD therapy program in which people learn to face their fears by being exposed to the trauma in a controlled environment. The exposure can consist of mental imagery, videos, visits to a specific location, or writing exercises – anything that reminds the person of the traumatic event. Virtual reality applications are increasingly being used in an exposure therapy PTSD therapy program to achieve the objective of exposing a person to the environment that caused PTSD. The goal is to gradually expose the person to the trauma in a safe environment and help them become stronger and less sensitive over time.
Cognitive Restructuring for PTSD
Cognitive restructuring is an intervention used during a PTSD therapy program to help the client make sense of their distressing memories. Oftentimes, a person who has experienced a traumatic event has disjointed memories or missing memories of certain parts of the event. The PTSD therapy program helps individuals develop clear and continuous memories of the event, but more importantly, understand why the event was not their fault. This type of PTSD therapy program is effective in helping clients overcome the guilt and shame associated with a traumatic event.
Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD
This PTSD therapy program is an adaptation of CBT in which clients learn to recognize and reevaluate their thinking patterns related to the trauma. In other words, cognitive processing therapy helps clients focus on how they see themselves and the world after the event. The goal of this PTSD therapy program is to help a person recognize inaccurate thoughts related to the traumatic event. The therapist then helps the client evaluate why the event occurred and the impact it had on the client’s thought patterns. The therapist also teaches the client skills to recognize trauma-related thoughts that are fact-based and deal with them in healthy ways.
Prolonged Exposure PTSD therapy program
The underlying principle of a prolonged exposure PTSD therapy program is to help clients gradually approach their disturbing memories and emotions. Many people with PTSD tend to avoid reminders of the trauma, for example, by avoiding going to a place where the event occurred. This may be effective in the short-term but does not work in the long-term. A PTSD therapy program that involves prolonged exposure consists of the client repeatedly confronting the situation instead of avoiding it. Research has shown that prolonged exposure can effectively help people overcome a wide range of traumas.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD
This is a PTSD therapy program in which the client is asked to focus on a sound or repeated back-and-forth movement while processing distressing memories and feelings related to a traumatic event. Some experts have suggested that the benefits of EMDR in PTSD patients are due to repeated exposure to the trauma and not from exposure to the sound or movement. Further studies are needed to better understand the active component of an EMDR PTSD therapy program.
Discover Recovery PTSD Therapy Program
Discover Recovery is a leading residential alcohol and drug rehab center located in Long Beach, Washington State. We offer a range of psychotherapy modalities and evidence-based treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. Our clinical team includes master’s level counselors and therapists with extensive experience in administering a PTSD therapy program. We understand that a dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction can be challenging, but not impossible to overcome. Our PTSD therapy program is designed to help clients overcome the psychological distress of a traumatic event while also recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.
PTSD and addiction are both treatable conditions. If you or someone you love is battling addiction and suffers from PTSD, call us today to find out more about our PTSD therapy program. Take the first step in overcoming substance abuse and PTSD by seeking a consultation with a mental health professional at Discover Recovery.