The following guide is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or give medical advice.
What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, etc. or who have been threatened with death, violence, or serious injury.
Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD.
(American Psychiatric Association, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd; NIMH, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd)
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types:
Negative changes in thinking and mood
Changes in physical and emotional reactions
(Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967)
Psychotherapy (sometimes called “talk therapy”) involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. Talk therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but it can last longer.
Cognitive Processing Therapy
This type of psychotherapy focuses on modifying painful negative emotions (such as shame, guilt, etc.) and beliefs (such as “I have failed”; “the world is dangerous”) due to the trauma. Therapists help the person confront such distressing memories and emotions.
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
This type of psychotherapy uses repeated, detailed imagining of the trauma or progressive exposures to symptom “triggers” in a safe, controlled way to help a person face and gain control of fear and distress and learn to cope. Exposure therapy can be particularly helpful for flashbacks and nightmares. One approach uses virtual reality programs that allow you to re-enter the setting in which you experienced trauma.
Stress Inoculation Therapy
This type of psychotherapy aims to arm the individual with the necessary coping skills to successfully defend against stressful triggers through the exposure of milder levels of stress.
This type of psychotherapy encourages survivors of similar traumatic events to share their experiences and reactions in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting. Group members help one another realize that many people would have responded the same way and felt the same emotions.
Medications sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD treatment.
These drugs can relieve severe anxiety and related problems. Some anti-anxiety medications have the potential for abuse, so they are generally used only for a short time.
Several studies indicated that prazosin (Minipress) may reduce or suppress nightmares in some people with PTSD.
(NIMH, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd; American Psychiatric Association, https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd; Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355973)
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin books about PTSD consult our library catalog. Some ebooks may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin databases consult our A-Z Database List. Databases may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
You may want to get help for PTSD if you have disturbing thoughts and feelings about a traumatic event for more than a month, if they're severe, or begins to interfere with your ability to function, such as eat, study, and have fun. TU has counselors who would love to help you.
This site provides information about and contact information for TU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
If you are having a mental health crisis, the following sites provide help:
Call or text 988 - Oklahoma's statewide mental health lifeline