15 Best Medications for PTSD

WRITTEN BY MODERN RECOVERY EDITORIAL TEAM

NOVEMBER 10, 2022

15 Best Medications for PTSD

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You were created with natural coping mechanisms to deal with the stress and trauma that life will bring. However, as a human being, you were not meant to experience some of the trauma that occurs.

Your way of coping with trauma and stressful events needs to be healthy or your physical, mental, and emotional well-being are impacted.

When you experience PTSD, you often need medication to help heal.

What to Expect When Prescribed PTSD Medication

You will need to meet with your therapist and psychiatrist regularly for them to monitor your progress. You will discuss how you are taking the medications, resolving or worsening symptoms, and any side effects that you are experiencing.

It is important, to be honest with your treatment providers to get the best outcome from your treatment.

Taking psychotropic medications to treat PTSD will not cure the condition. However, taking the medication can turn down the volume of the symptoms to allow you to go on living your life.

You may be able to emotionally heal faster through therapy if you are taking medications to assist with the physical symptoms. Medications make the symptoms less bothersome, however, you must still address the root of the issue through therapy.

Types of Medication

Medical professionals typically use a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) or Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI) first for the treatment of PTSD. Both of these types of medications decrease anxiety and depression.

They also assist with decreasing nightmares, improving sleeping patterns, and decreasing the occurrence of panic attacks. SSRI and SNRI medications do not create new chemicals in the brain. They balance the existing chemicals and hormones that are in your brain.

If you do not respond to the SSRI or SNRI medications, treatment providers will prescribe a mood stabilizer medication. This is most helpful when the main symptoms that you experience are anger, agitation, and irritability.

Another type of medication that could assist with PTSD treatment is fast-acting anti-anxiety medications. This provides short-term relief of symptoms by calming the central nervous system.

Some side effects of this type of medication include fatigue and dizziness. This class of medications also increases the risk of addiction to the medication.

Alpha Blockers are also used as a medication to treat symptoms of PTSD. These medications are typically used to lower blood pressure, and also have been proven to address symptoms of PTSD.

What Treatments Are Available for PTSD?

Treatment for PTSD includes a combination of therapy and the use of medication. Working with a competent therapist that specializes in working with people suffering from PTSD is necessary. To treat the symptoms of PTSD, it is necessary to identify the root cause and appropriately address this trauma.

Since PTSD causes physical and emotional symptoms that drastically impact your ability to carry on your normal life, using medications may be necessary. It is important to work with a provider that is well-versed in both.

At Modern Recovery Services, we understand the importance of using both therapy and medication to address the symptoms to get through the healing process to achieve wholeness.

Medications Use to Treat PTSD

SSRI and SNRI (Antidepressants)

  1. Sertraline (Zoloft)
  2. Paroxetine (Paxil)
  3. Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  4. Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  5. Nefazodone (Serzone)

Other:

  1. Imipramine (Tofranil) – A tricyclic antidepressant
  2. Phenelzine (Nardil) – An MAOI medication
  3. Topomax (Topiramate) – A mood stabilizer
  4. Lamictal (Lamotrigine) – A mood stabilizer
  5. Xanax – A fast-acting anti-anxiety medication
  6. Klonopin (Clonazepam) – A fast-acting anti-anxiety medication
  7. Valium (Diazepam) – A fasting-acting anti-anxiety medication
  8. Ativan (Lorazepam) – A fast-acting anti-anxiety medication; also used to treat sleep disorder
  9. Minipress (Prazosis) – An Alpha Blocker
  10. Doxazosin – An Alpha Blocker

Types of Therapy Used to Treat PTSD

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) -This is a therapy approach that focuses on the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This focuses on the change in patterns that led to the difficulty in your life.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) – This is a variation of CBT that focuses on helping to teach you how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs about experiencing trauma.

Cognitive Therapy (CT) – This therapy is also derived from the CBT method. This helps you to modify the negative memory of the trauma. The goal is to stop the behavior that is disrupting your life.

Prolonged Exposure – This is a type of CBT therapy that teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations. By facing what has been avoided, you learn that the trauma-related memories and cues are not dangerous and do not need to be avoided.

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event or series of events. PTSD is a condition that results from someone experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.

Many people have experienced trauma or witnessed something traumatic. People are sometimes able to cope with the trauma immediately. However, there are situations where people are unable to appropriately cope with trauma.

PTSD is most likely a combination of a stressful or traumatic event with several other factors. These factors include a possible history of mental health-related issues, your personality or temperament, and the way your brain physically regulates chemicals and hormones.

If you are diagnosed with PTSD, you have a different number of neurotransmitters in your brain than people without PTSD. The physical makeup of your brain is different or altered from PTSD.

Types of Trauma that Cause PTSD

When you are involved in or witness an event that involves death, the threat of death, or injury, you are more at risk of developing PTSD.

There are several types of trauma that a person may be involved with or witness that make you more likely to develop PTSD.

  • Combat Exposure – Active members of the military or veterans.
  • Childhood Abuse – If you experienced sexual, emotional, or physical abuse as a child.
  • Sexual Abuse or Sexual Violence – If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault.
  • Physical Assault – If you have been the victim of a physical assault against you or watched someone else be physically assaulted.
  • Accident – If you were involved in an automobile accident or an accident in which you or someone else was injured.

You are more at risk for developing PTSD if:

  • You have experienced intense or long-lasting trauma.
  • You are exposed to trauma at a young age in childhood.
  • You have pre-existing mental health disorders or are predisposed based on heredity.
  • You work in a profession that experiences trauma regularly. This includes first responders, police officers, medical professionals, or ambulance drivers/EMTs.
  • You lack a support system.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

There are four types of symptoms that are experienced if you are suffering from PTSD.

Intrusive Memories

If you suffer from PTSD, you can have sudden memories of the traumatic event without any warning. It is also common to suffer from dreams or nightmares related to experiencing the traumatic event. You can also experience physical or emotional responses when you have an intrusive memory.

Avoidance

Suffering from PTSD can cause you to avoid certain people, places, or things that may remind you of the traumatic event. You can find yourself isolating yourself from activities that you once enjoyed because you are trying to avoid triggering any further symptoms.

Negative Changes in Thinking and Mood

PTSD can cause you to have negative thoughts about yourself and this affects your self-image. PTSD can cause you to have negative thoughts about other people, including family and those that you love.

PTSD can cause you to have hopelessness about the present and future. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, do not delay and call 988 immediately to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. If you are a veteran, select option 1. Your call will be answered 24/7.

PTSD causes memory loss. It can be very frustrating and scary when you no longer can recall simple facts or memories of your life.

PTSD frequently causes you to have issues within your relationships. You may notice that you no longer feel the same emotions and feel detached from those that you love. This impacts both you and all of your family and friends.

PTSD can cause you to feel numb or unable to respond to emotionally charged situations. You may struggle to respond to any form of stress appropriately.

Changes in Physical and Emotional Reactions

When you are suffering from PTSD, you can become startled or frightened easily. You may feel like you are always on edge or on guard waiting for something bad to happen. This causes your emotions to be out of alignment.

You may experience significant difficulty sleeping. PTSD can cause you to suffer from insomnia. You may struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Nightmares also play a role in your ability to sleep on a regular schedule. When you are unable to have a normal sleeping pattern, your body is not able to recuperate. This can cause more physical ailments to occur due to all of your bodily systems not receiving the appropriate amount of rest.

PTSD can cause your emotions to be dysregulated. You may experience significant irritability. This may cause you to be angry or sad when you should be happy.

The most frustrating part is that you know you do not want to have the opposite emotional response, however, your emotions and physical reactions are not responding correctly.

When To Seek Help for PTSD

When you have experienced a traumatic event, it is a natural human response to go through emotional turmoil and even experience some physical symptoms. However, this should not last long term.

If you are still experiencing emotional or physical symptoms one month after experiencing a traumatic event, it is time to seek out professional help.

Do not delay in seeking professional help. It is important to recognize and develop a plan to address PTSD.

The quicker you can recognize you are suffering from PTSD, the better the outcome will be. If you can begin addressing the root of the issue soon after developing PTSD, the recovery may not be as intense or long-lasting.

It is important to us at Modern Recovery Services to work with you to identify the root cause of PTSD and develop a treatment plan to help with thinking differently. We realize that your life can be hectic.

Our services will meet you where you are and provide convenient options to make your life easier. We provide you with the ability to reach a therapist or case manager at any time of the day or night through the use of calling, texting, or live chats by using our app.

We want to partner with you while you work through the healing process of PTSD.

When you delay seeking help for PTSD and the related symptoms, there is a higher risk that you will find other ways to cope with the discomfort and torment that you are feeling. You may find yourself engaging in high-risk behavior or finding other ways of escaping.

Many people turn to addictions to drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with PTSD. We can help if you find yourself having a co-occurring treatment need for mental health and substance abuse services.

Contact us today to develop a treatment plan that will address both your mental health and substance abuse treatment needs.

We Can Help

Contact us today to schedule a time to meet with one of our professional counselors and case managers to assess your treatment needs today. We are ready to help you create a treatment plan to best meet all of your needs.

Sources:

  1. US Department of Veteran Affairs. Medications for PTSD. 2022. Available at ptsd.va.gov.
  2. National Library of Medicine. Mood Stabilizers. April, 28. 2020. Available at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  3. The Mayo Clinic. Alpha Blockers. 2022. Available at mayoclinic.org.
  4. The Mayo Clinic. Post-traumatic stress disorder. 2022. Available at mayoclinic.org.
  5. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Available at 988lifeline.org.
  6. US Department of Veteran Affairs.Veteran Suicide Prevention. October 12, 2022. Available at va.gov.
  7. American Psychological Association. PTSD Treatments. June 2020. Available at apa.org.

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