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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Treatment

Other types of treatment

Your doctor also may suggest you try other types of medicines and other forms of counseling.

  • Other types of counseling include group treatment, brief psychodynamic psychotherapy, and family therapy.
  • Other types of medicines include:
    • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and imipramine (Tofranil).
    • Atypical antidepressants such as mirtazapine (Remeron) and venlafaxine extended release (Effexor). One study has shown that venlafaxine XR reduced PTSD symptoms.8
    • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan) and phenelzine (Nardil).
    • Mood stabilizers such as carbamazepine (Tegretol) and lithium (Lithobid or Eskalith). Mood stabilizers are sometimes taken with other medicines used for PTSD.
    • Antipsychotics such as risperidone (Risperdal). These medicines may help with symptoms like nightmares or flashbacks. More research is needed to find out how well these drugs work.
    • Prazosin (Minipress), which is used for nightmares and sleep problems related to PTSD.

If you are using medicine, take it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if it's not helping your symptoms or if the side effects are very bad. You and your doctor will decide what to do.

Deciding to get treatment

Unfortunately, many people don't seek treatment for PTSD. You may not seek treatment because you think the symptoms are not bad enough or that you can work things out on your own. But getting treatment is important.

Treatment can make your symptoms less intense and stop them from coming back. It can help you connect with your family, friends, and community. Many people get better with treatment.

If you need help deciding whether to see your doctor, see some reasons why people don't get help and ways to overcome them.

When you first see your therapist, he or she will ask questions about the traumatic event causing PTSD and how severe your symptoms are. You may want your spouse, your partner, or a close family member to come with you. This person can help your doctor understand your symptoms and can help your therapist understand what you've been going through. Being with someone you trust helps you relax.

If you have other problems along with PTSD, such as overuse of alcohol or drugs, you also may need treatment for those problems.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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