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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What types of medications treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Elisha Lawry

    Organisational Psychologist, Psychologist

    I have 20plus years of clinical experience and specialist professional training. My particular focus is to bring positive transformation to clients with depression, anxiety and … View Profile

    There is a number of ways for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It depends on the severity of the disorder and how it is being managed. It might be that the person needs to talk through the trauma and get a good sense of what that trauma is about so that it sits better with the person. There is a technique that I have training in called Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), which is a way of working with someone to help shift the memory in the way that it is stored in the brain. So that is used as a technique and there is no medication involved. It would depend on what the issue is and the context of the stress. The length of time that the person has how had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is also taken into account.

  • Experienced in acute care of adults with mood and personality issues. Special interest in trauma related psychological injury (PTSD, ASD emergency services and military personnel … View Profile

    The best people to answer the question of medication for PTSD will be your treating doctor or psychiatrist. However best practice is currently focused on SSRI type medication as first line treatment. Many other medications can be used for specific symptoms such as beta blockers for nightmares.

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    Michael Guy

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical and coaching psychologist (www.lifeaftertrauma.com.au) with over 15 years of professional experience. Recognized qualifications and lots of experience to give me skills … View Profile

    The treatment of choice for PTSD is psychotherapy.  Medication is often used to reduce symptoms but when medication is ceased, symptoms usually return.  Medication can help someone reduce symptoms so that psychotherapy can be more effective so the two can work together.  

    As noted above antidepressants are the core medication.  If this is not effective I would normally liaise with the GP in regard to another antidepressant.  Some antidepressants can lead to agitation and are therefore not very good with PTSD.  If a couple of antidepressants have been tried unsucessfully then it would be appropriate to see a psychiatrist for their opinion.  

    Sleep is very important in PTSD.  GPs will often use Valium or another from the benzodiazepam group of drugs for this and also to reduce anxiety.  These drugs lead to tolerance and dependence within weeks if used daily.  Most GPs would now advise to only use these 3 or 4 days per week to avoid becoming dependent on them.  Once tolerance is developed it is a waste of time taking them.  

    Serequel is an antipsychotic drug that is often used to induce sleep.  This is helpful to get a regular sleep pattern back and then withdraw as psychotherapy treats the trauma. 

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