For many, the experience of a traumatic experience such as an attack or a car crash can be enough to trigger nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks.
But when it comes to PTSD, symptoms of anxiety and paranoia are more complex and more difficult to treat.
The National Institute of Mental Health and other health care professionals recommend that sufferers seek help from a specialist who specializes in treating anxiety and/or panic disorder.
And while most people with PTSD find that their symptoms have improved after treatment, some individuals still have issues, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
“For people who have PTSD, the most important thing is to get treatment,” said Dr. Peter J. Johnson, the director of the trauma center at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Medicine.
“This is not a cure, it’s a treatment, and it is effective in treating symptoms of PTSD.”
The study, which included more than 4,000 people with traumatic brain injury, also found that the treatment of PTSD was more complicated than for other mental disorders.
“When people have PTSD and anxiety or panic disorder, they need help from someone who can help them identify what they’re experiencing and then figure out what to do about it,” said Johnson.
“But in PTSD, they’re not necessarily thinking about that or having the resources to understand that.
They’re just seeing the symptoms and trying to understand what it is.”
For instance, a person with PTSD can see symptoms in the short-term such as headaches and memory loss.
But when a traumatic event such as a car accident happens, a brain scan or EEG shows a surge in activity that indicates something is wrong, or that the brain is changing.
But a diagnosis of PTSD is difficult to make, since it is a chronic condition and can’t be corrected.
“If you have PTSD in a long-term way, it may take some time before you can start to see some of the symptoms that were previously present,” said Janna Johnson, M.D., a clinical psychologist and a psychiatrist at the New York University School of Psychology.
“It can be difficult to see things in a normal way.”
While the treatment options for PTSD can vary depending on the severity of the condition, a treatment strategy that works for most people is to see a therapist.
“A therapist is someone who is trained in a particular area, so you have trained therapists who have an expertise in that area,” said Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Michael Siegel, a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist.
“You also have someone who has an expertise with a particular illness, so it’s trained clinicians.
You have someone trained in cognitive behavior therapy and a therapist who specializes on the symptoms of that disorder.”
The first step is to seek out a therapist and discuss your concerns with them, said Johnson, who has been treating PTSD for more than 20 years.
If you are diagnosed with PTSD, seek treatment.
But it can take up to a year for your therapist to be able to help you.
If you are not successful, talk to your doctor or another provider about the possibility of treating yourself.
You may need to seek treatment from a primary care doctor or specialist.
“In some cases, that may mean a referral to a specialist,” said Siegel.
“There may be a special area that has an area that specializes in that.”
To determine whether a treatment plan works best for you, Johnson recommends getting a diagnosis and doing your own research.
“The more research you do, the more comfortable you will be with the diagnosis and the better the treatment plan will be for you,” he said.
“The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can return to a normal life.”
Johnson’s advice for treating PTSD in the long term: “Don’t be afraid to seek help.”
“You don’t need to get up and do something,” said his advice.
“That’s not the point.”