Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, can seem overwhelming. Oftentimes, we spend a great deal of time trying to convince ourselves that "time will heal" or "I should be able to handle this." Meanwhile, relationships become more difficult, your mood gets more depressed, and the memories keep on coming. These are all indicators that what you're dealing with isn't just going to "go away,” but rather that treatment may be indicated and necessary. (See this post for more specific info on PTSD.)
If you've gotten to the point where you are contemplating PTSD treatment, I'm willing to bet you've also gotten to a point where you're dealing with some worries and concerns about what to expect. Good news: this is normal! Over the past 11 years, patients have consistently told me that the worries before treatment far surpass any distress experienced during treatment. That's how anxiety works! Your brain goes into overdrive trying to worry about every possible catastrophic outcome, and man, it is hard to stop it once it starts.
One common concern I'm repeatedly hearing is that folks think treatment will somehow make things worse. PTSD is a disorder that worsens over time, and the more that you avoid dealing with it, the worse it becomes and the longer it lasts. With that said, the symptoms of avoidance can be the very symptoms maintaining your PTSD and preventing you from taking the leap into getting help you need. I cannot stress that point enough: AVOIDANCE MAKES THINGS WORSE.
If you're now having an "oh shit" moment, that is ok. Avoidance makes sense to a point: if something is painful to think about, we are going to want to avoid it. However, avoidance in PTSD does just the opposite in that it strengthens the disorder.
So now what?
Seeking out evidence-based treatments is your best bet! There are treatments shown to be effective treatments for PTSD, meaning PTSD is a treatable disorder. And this is the exciting part! No, we cannot delete past events or memories. However, that's not what PTSD is. PTSD is the impairment these past traumatic events are causing in your current life and that can be treated effectively!
Treatment is not just sitting around talking about all the bad stuff that's happened to you week after week and then sending you on your way. No, that's not going to be helpful. Instead, after following an individual assessment and a discussion of your treatment goals, we will talk about best options for you. You will then have a much clearer sense about which treatments are available, how they work, why they work, and how long they will take.
Treatment is about getting you to feel better in both the short and the long term. Often, taking the first step to make an appointment can be the most difficult step to take. Once you do take that step, make sure your therapist will meet with you prior to starting treatment to get a clear picture of the problems you want help with, and that they recommend treatments that are evidence-based and shown to be effective.
If you'd like to read about evidence-based PTSD treatments that I offer, please see my website here. And remember: a good, solid treatment will help you to overcome this "stuck" feeling and help you to feel better overall and in your day-to-day life.