Frequently Asked Questions about PTSD

By Harold Cohen, Ph.D.

Is the cause of PTSD simply a traumatic event?

Although PTSD begins after a traumatic event, other factors also play an important role. The severity, type, and circumstances of the traumatic event may determine whether or not a person develops PTSD. In addition, some individuals appear to be more vulnerable to PTSD. It is possible that underlying differences in the makeup of a person’s personality or brain physiology may contribute to the onset of PTSD.

Should people with PTSD be encouraged to talk about the trauma?

Providing the person with PTSD with support, and with the freedom to talk, is of course valuable. Furthermore, an important component of the psychotherapy for PTSD is reprocessing of the traumatic event. Nevertheless, it is important to allow people the opportunity to proceed at their own pace; revisiting traumatic events may be extremely painful. Thus, people should avoid encouraging a person with PTSD to talk about trauma until he is ready to do so.

What is the best treatment of PTSD?

Therapy is a very important component of the treatment of PTSD; in particular, a structured form of psychotherapy know as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely accepted as effective for PTSD. Sometimes it is useful to work one-on-one with a therapist through individual therapy. Working together with others who have also suffered traumatic experiences in a group therapy setting may also be helpful. Certain medications may also be very useful in reducing many of the symptoms of PTSD.

What is the prognosis of PTSD?

The prognosis of PTSD differs from individual to individual. Some people can experience a remarkable return to normal functioning. Others experience persistent, fluctuating symptoms of the disorder. Fortunately, specific medications and/or psychotherapies may often result in a substantial reduction in the symptoms of PTSD, and in an improved quality of life.

 

APA Reference
Cohen, H. (2006). Frequently Asked Questions about PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/frequently-asked-questions-about-ptsd/000159
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.