Patient Comments: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - Effective Treatments

Question:

What kinds of treatments have been effective for your posttraumatic stress disorder? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Oui, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 15

EMDR - eye movement desensitization reprocessing therapy is the way to go for posttraumatic stress disorder - especially when you feel 'stuck'. I mean, regardless, we need someone to help us because we cannot do it ourselves. It facilitates a neurological re-structuring of the painful memories, and they are drained of the intense intrusive emotions. It is highly effective and can shorten the length of treatment considerably. Amazing!

Comment from: T. Graham, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 11

The treatments that have been most effective for me are a Seroquel and alprazolam. I noticed that this site mentioned that it didn"t like benzodiazepines, but they have saved my life. Along with therapy, I am actually stable and coping well; but I"ve moved to an area that doesn"t seem to treat PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) very well at all. It is frightening moving to an area that is so regressive in its treatment methods. I am more than a little concerned about that.

Comment from: Okra, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 07

I suffered years of depression and anxiety. I had therapy and medications, did 12 step programs, all of which helped. But the real change came with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). I was doing well for 8 years. Then the untimely death of a dear friend, a house flood, and work expectations I could not fulfill, took me back into the PTSD with intense depression, anxiety, and difficulty with focus and recall. Medications helped but homeopathy really started the shift back. I went back and did EMDR again. It's brilliant work and I am almost back to normal.

Comment from: witsend, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I have been in and out of therapy most of my adult life. I am sober for 24 years and go to AA. I take 20 mg of Celexa daily. I am still severely depressed. I dissociate; I am very angry, I isolate, and can't stand to be around people or at work. I mostly can't stand myself. I feel like a caged tiger. My new therapist suggested to me that I may have PTSD, something that I have never considered or has been suggested to me before. But it seems to be right on, the more research I do. I was neglected as an infant and young child, and suffered abuse by my father throughout my life beginning at age 7. All I know is that everything is getting worse, not ever better, so something has to change. I am hoping that this therapist can help me face my demons, something that has never happened before in therapy, and that I can actually do it, because I am terrified of going there. But if I can't hope that I will ever get better or feel better – have a little ray of sunshine eventually – then what is the point?

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 29

My husband came back from Vietnam with PTSD and was diagnosed with anxiety. What helped him the most was writing and rewriting his experiences (at least five drafts on a typewriter) into a memoir (Chickenhawk). It moved nightmares and intrusive thoughts and memories into his past. It didn't cure the PTSD, but it made life more bearable. A few years ago, he also started on Zoloft, which helped with his depression that I consider a natural result of PTSD's emotional numbing. Refuse your feelings and you will get depressed.

Comment from: 1happy1, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I have been diagnosed with PTSD over the past six months from multiple traumas that happened to me before I was 18 years old. I never thought it would have affected me now at 50! I had an "old" man neighbor put his hands down my pants, one of my brothers inappropriately touched me while I was asleep, I was rapped by my high school biology teacher, and a friend's father made passes at me! I had always wanted to get married and have a family, but I seemed to always pick the wrong men. I had been living in the cycle, not knowing what they heck is going on until I left a relationship that meant the world to me. Then my brother passed away, and then all of this came flowing out of me. So, now I am in the process of putting my life back in order. Wow, it is work to love, appreciate, trust, and believe in myself! What has helped me the most is finding a great therapist and facing this head on. I now know that all people aren't as sick as all the men that violated me. Each day I am getting stronger and stronger.

Comment from: katieh, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

I had a psychotic mother who was physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive to me as a very young child. I was placed in an even more abusive orphanage where I began to self-harm and eventually try to kill myself. I also switched into another personality there. I was called "#14," and I switched to "14," who wasn't so afraid of the abuse there. At some point, I began to suffer from PTSD. After 30 years, I was put on Zyprexa. It immediately took just about all my self-harming and suicidal thoughts away. However, I gained 100 pounds. No doctor wanted to take me off it, so I did it myself and finally got stabilized on Seroquel. These are antipsychotics but have been proven helpful in treating PTSD. I have not met anyone else though who has had such a significant improvement to the extent I have. However, it is worth a shot.

Comment from: Ashleigh, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

After trying several types of medication, I found exercise, yoga and meditation to work the best. The medicine - Lexapro did help some what, but made me feel tired/sleepy and gave me gut problems. I advise not going back to work full time as you burn yourself out again. Seeing a psychologist helped as well as you could talk about your experiences although I wanted to avoid as much of my past experiences as possible. I have heard that 6 week courses run by PTSD psych/psychiatrists have been really helpful for police and military personnel. Remember that your family needs you and set yourself goals.

Comment from: Pushed to the limit, 25-34 Female Published: September 24

After being abused when I was a child, moving many of times, going through my parents divorce, and being raped as a teenager, I could hardly sleep, and began having panic attacks all the time. This lead me to see a therapist who helped me work through my past which I kept a secret for years. I was finally feeling better until overwhelming stress and sexual harassment at work pushed me over the edge and I was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was absolutely awful. I didn't want to do anything, go anywhere, and was terrified of anything related to my job (of which I had to leave on doctor's orders). It's almost been a year and things have improved, but it's astonishing what this can do to a person. I've found therapy very helpful, along with medicine, plenty of sleep, light exercise, keeping a journal of how I feel and trying to make small goals for myself. If I could do anything differently, I would have spoken up a lot earlier, and not have pretended everything was fine until I couldn't take it anymore.

Comment from: Struggler, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I found out that my PTSD stemmed from childhood sexual abuse, which later, I believed it resulted in alcohol and drug abuse. It didn't find treatment until I hit bottom and joined AA. It has helped me immensely. AA helped me to face life sober. Before, all I tried to do was to keep all of those memories away, hence the drugs and alcohol. Acceptance is the key.

Comment from: Moselle, 45-54 Female Published: November 29

I have PTSD. I suffer flashbacks of a horrific event I went through when I was 22 years old. I am now 52. I am looking for a miracle treatment because I have gone to therapy for years, but the flashbacks still occur when there is a trigger. It lasts for two days to at least a week. Yoga has been helpful. And I paint and draw or carve; that helps as well, except when the flashbacks are happening. Then it is hard to refocus. I try to keep doing the menial tasks around the house, such as scrub the sink or pull some weeds. That helps too.

Comment from: UNC, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

I'm 39, and I just found out I have (PTSD). I have tried Prozac, Paxil, and now my doctor has me on Cymbalta. I was abused by my mother and father (sexually) when I was small. When I was 4, my mother started first until I was 8 years old. Then, my father started when I was 11 years old until I was 13 years old. My father paid for his mistakes, but my mother never did. I am taking a lot of medicines because of my messed up back that happened because of a surgery gone wrong. I don't work because of my bulging discs (nine), plus I have nerve root damage in both legs. I am very careful of what I take for my problems. I see a therapist, and he is also a preacher. I can't really go to any family members because they are not supportive. So, all I have is my new husband. I thought I would never get married because of my illness. But, I was wrong. Therapy and medicines have helped me and my daughters. I do know you just can't give up. Cymbalta is the best medicine for me and my PTSD.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I have suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder since 1999 after being in involved in a severe war incident as journalist in Kosovo. For me Venlaflaxin (150 mg), a 12 step program and yoga gave me my life back. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Comment from: freetobeme, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

I have suffered from every posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom. I also suffer from other psychiatric disorders resulting from my childhood. I have tried to commit suicide once. Thankfully, my current drug mix has eliminated this desire. I no longer consider suicide an option. My current drugs include Lithium, Lamictal and Paxil. It took years to come up with this mix. I have seen countless therapists and psychiatrists and now understand that I know more about my condition than they do. I teach them. I have taken anti-anxiety and sleeping pills as well during the really rough times. I prefer not to take things like Xanax and Ambien due to my tendency to hurt myself.

Comment from: escape artist, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 24

I had seizures for 40 of 44 years. Aug. 25th, 1999, they went in and removed the left amygdala, part of the hippocampus, and scar tissue from damage at birth by forceps. I became seizure-free for the first time in my life! Then, a year and a half later, I was never healthier. I was standing at a pedestrian crosswalk and heard a loud crash. A red van hit me. They found the hit-and-run driver two months later. My head (left frontal lobe) went through the windshield and broke a lot of my left side and pulverized my left knee. I have complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI ) and life-long disability. I have nightmares, flashbacks, etc. They have done the Amygdala Project on me, but because my case study was so unique, it has been published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, May issue. I am the only one I know of with no left amygdala and still developed complex PTSD. They took my case to Hawaii and met with researchers in February. They are focusing on the right amygdala now. I am trying to get the doctors and researchers to do further studies, research, or get a grant. No treatments have helped. I stay inside or at the hospital on campus and do my art. Because of my unique case, there is nothing they can do.

Comment from: Shirley, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

After losing my mother to leukemia in May 2005 and losing my husband to a heart attack in October 2005, I developed PTSD. I've been told by my therapist that I have every symptom of PTSD. She has taught me breathing exercises to deal with the flashbacks, and I have found that stomping my feet and moving my head quickly to the side helps with the flashbacks. As far as the PTSD, I have found that therapy has really helped and talking to my identical twin really helps to sort out my thoughts. I have a strong family support network.

Published: July 23

Fourteen months ago my husband had a brain hemorrhage and a stroke. I felt so strong during the month he was in neuroscience ICU and on a respirator and had tubes coming out of every part of his body. They did three brain surgeries and prepared me for the fact that he was not going to make it. I have always had a stress disorder. However we are not financially doomed. I am so depressed and can't seem to stop having flash backs of almost losing him. He made it but in some aspects is not the same.

Published: June 30

For me, the most effective treatment for my PTSD has been a 12-step program. I have been using this program for about four years. I now have a way of dealing with my life issues. I still am trying to find inner happiness, and I know that with the stable relationship I now have, and my program, that over time it will happen. I take the antidepressant Lexapro. I am now exercising regularly. This helps me when my thoughts seem out of control. I hope this message is useful to someone.

Published: June 26

I've been diagnosed with SSRIs for almost 4 years, so can't comment on the impact of this class of medication for PTSD but have found psychotherapy helpful to provide context to my experiences and work through the fear. Time away from work has also been important, so that I can take some time for myself, to heal. The urge to be alone is strong but I make an effort to go out daily and stay in touch with friends.

Published: June 16

In January of this year my doctor prescribed a miracle pill for me. Its 10mg Zyprexa. I gained about 30pounds so far and feel fantastic. I love waking up and have no problem going to sleep any longer.

Comment from: kjb0326, 19-24 (Caregiver) Published: October 15

My son has returned from front line fighting in Afghanistan and is acting out of character. He is avoiding his family and not acting responsible. As his mother, how can I be supportive, what can I do to help him realize what he is doing?

Comment from: want to feel better, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

This is a first time for me. I wanted to find out if what I am experiencing could be PTSD. For many years I have had allot of conflict and trauma in my life beginning with my dad who drank allot. Emotional abuse and threatened violence were the norm in my home since I was born until I left at 16. Even then it continued as I grew up. At 16 I married a man for 13 years, he too drug me thru the mud, trying to constantly take kids away. Court battle after battle was the norm. I moved away and began going thru similar thing again. I can only say the abuse I got during the marriage was mild in comparison to what I got when started dragging the kids and I thru court. I sit and just watch TV now, I am withdrawn, scared to feel. Every time my X comes around or sends an email my PTSD comes back. It seems like it lasts for weeks before finally subsiding again. This man has hurt me on many occasions, follows me, and has begun alienating my kids from me. I cannot stand that I feel frightened all the time. I do have good days but few and far between.

Comment from: reina, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

Facing the fears head on and push past the fear to the light at the end of the tunnel. The light does come therapy helped me a lot. I need more it brings peace to those racing thoughts and also write everything in your head down on paper then rip it up and throw it away. The last thing and the most important to do is read the bible and pray. Seeing how God loves you and who you are heals you and will change you forever.

Comment from: comanderk, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 15

Zopiclone to sleep and calm the mind gave meaning and positive thought to a tormented mind carbamazepine proved useful but not as effective. No calming effect.

Comment from: L. A. Grimm, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

I have found that talking with family, friends, and your minister at church really help me with my PTSD. Prayer is very helpful, too. Remember that you are an important, loved member of your family and have many great qualities that make you good to be around. Don't let "stinkin' thinkin'" get you down!

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