Understanding PTSD Treatment
PTSD can be treated. Effective treatments for PTSD include different types of psychotherapy (talk therapy) or medication. To learn overview information about PTSD Treatment visit the Treatment Basics page on the VA website.
Medications can be used to treat PTSD. Learn more about which medications most effective for PTSD and which medications are not recommended.
- Medications for PTSD
Medications that have been shown to be helpful in treating PTSD symptoms are some of the same medications also used for symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Benzodiazepines for PTSD
Some medications, including Benzodiazepines, are not recommended. Benzodiazepines are medications given by a doctor to improve anxiety and sleep. They do not help with PTSD symptoms and can have serious side effects over time. There are better treatment options.
Trauma-focused psychotherapy is the most effective type of talk therapy for PTSD. There are different kinds of trauma-focused psychotherapy, but the three treatments listed below have the most research support.
In each of these therapies, you’ll meet with a therapist once a week for 60 to 90 minutes. Your therapist will teach you specific skills to help you manage your PTSD symptoms.
These therapies usually lasts for 3 to 4 months. Then, if you still have symptoms, you and your therapist can talk about ways to manage them.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD
CPT teaches you how change the upsetting thoughts and feelings you have had since your trauma.
- Prolonged Exposure for PTSD
PE teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations that you have been avoiding since your trauma.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD
EMDR helps you process and make sense of your trauma while paying attention to a back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, a light, or a tone).
Trying to figure out which PTSD treatment is best for you?
Learn about effective treatment options with PTSD Treatment Decision Aid. You can read about different treatments, hear advice from people who have been through these treatments, and watch videos of providers explaining how the treatments work. You can also build a chart to compare the treatments you like the most and print a personalized summary that lists your symptoms, treatment preferences, and questions to share with your provider.