Frequently Asked Questions About PTSD Group Therapy

PTSD is a silent killer. You can pass someone by on the street and be oblivious to the fact that a debilitating psychological problem terrorizes them. According to statistics, more than eight million Americans aged 18 and above have post-traumatic stress disorder. It affects everyone at some point in their lives. This disorder is for military personnel and veterans, although mental illness is often associated with them.

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For most people, stress is an everyday thing that comes and goes with a little de-stressing. However, post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness working differently. Characterized by feelings of fear, anxiety, avoidance, and having intrusive thoughts, PTSD triggers a fight-or-flight response in many people.

It develops in an individual who experiences significant trauma and stress, like military combat, natural disasters, death of a loved one, victims of crimes and abuse, etc. And because PTSD often relives a person’s worst nightmare for them, it may be challenging to live their daily lives and almost impossible to recover.

Over the years, as more and more people begin to struggle with the disorder, physicians and medical researchers continue to develop various treatment approaches to help PTSD patients. PTSD group therapy has become one of the most common forms of psychotherapy in treating traumatized individuals.

Group therapy allows people with the same disorder to participate and help relieve each other from their difficult situations. Each group consists of no more than 15 willing participants, and a licensed mental health professional presides over each session.

What is the best therapy for PTSD?

The best treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder is psychotherapy. There are a few different types of psychotherapy in the market. Evidence suggests that CBT or Cognitive Behavior Therapy is the most effective treatment plan for the disorder.

It is a trauma-focused technique wherein a licensed mental health professional recognizes the patient’s cognitive patterns and helps them understand their thoughts and behaviors.

Is group therapy effective for PTSD?

According to studies, people living with PTSD who underwent group therapy significantly improved with their condition. The promising findings of group therapy as a treatment plan for post-traumatic stress disorder have made it a popular choice and widely practiced methodology.

What are the four major clusters of PTSD?

Diagnosing PTSD symptoms is generally characterized and group into four major clusters:

  1. intrusive memories, which may involve recalling the traumatic events or experiences through dreams and flashbacks,
  2. avoidance, whether it be their thoughts or even people, places, etc.,
  3. changes in thoughts and emotions, often negative, and
  4. elevated arousal and emotional reactivity, which may include being insomniac.

How many therapy sessions are needed for PTSD?

The recommended length of therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts six to 12 weeks or could be longer. Generally, each session should be around 60 to 120 minutes, and the meeting should be weekly or as needed.

What are the 17 PTSD symptoms?

There are 17 common PTSD symptoms, such as:

  1. physical reactions that include sweating or nauseating symptoms
  2. general disinterest in life or activities
  3. nightmares and flashbacks
  4. development of anxiety
  5. self-destructive behavior like substance abuse
  6. avoidance of certain activities, people, places, etc. or isolation
  7. detaching one’s self from reality
  8. hypervigilance or feeling on edge
  9. irritability
  10. difficulty in expressing emotions
  11. panic attacks
  12. insomnia
  13. quickly becoming flustered or scared
  14. inability to concentrate or focus on specific tasks and activities
  15. failure to remember details of the traumatic events
  16. suicidal feelings or tendencies
  17. hyperarousal
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What happens if PTSD is left untreated?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is already a debilitating mental illness. If left untreated, it can bring more problems and challenges. Other psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, may develop. Unable to recover from PTSD will significantly lower a person’s quality of life.

Is PTSD considered a disability?

Mental illnesses are already classified as disabilities. Therefore, PTSD may be considered as one. Suppose the disorder symptoms start to worsen and hamper an individual from doing the daily routine. In that case, the person may go to a psychiatrist to prove the disorder’s debilitating problems.

Once verified, an individual is entitled to disability benefits such as discounts on medicines and safe space for them in public places.

How do you heal from PTSD?

Many treatment options are available, such as psychotherapy, exposure therapy, rehabilitation, and medication management. However, the recovery process for PTSD is a long and winding path.

How do you get approved for PTSD?

As mentioned before, a certified and licensed mental health professional, specifically a psychiatrist, must diagnose an individual with PTSD. The four significant clusters of the disorder are considered, and a patient must exhibit at least 1-2 symptoms each under the categories.

What are the three E’s of trauma?

The three E’s of trauma are mainly:

  1. The event, of the traumatic circumstances,
  2. Experience, in regards to how the individual perceives and processes the event, and
  3. From the name itself, the effect is about the outcome of the first two E’s mentioned.

What does a PTSD attack feel like?

Signs of a PTSD attack varies per person. It may come without warning, yet it can gradually grow from feelings of fear or anxiety for others. You may watch out for physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. At some point, you may also lose consciousness.

Can PTSD cause personality changes?

One of the clusters of PTSD is changes in thoughts and emotions linked with personality. Those with PTSD are at high-risk of personality changes. While some even develop a personality disorder like antisocial personality disorder or schizophrenia.

What triggers PTSD attacks?

Many things can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in people. These may include serious events such as death, war, crimes, and abuse and are often called external triggers. On the other hand, there are also internal triggers like excessive worrying, memories, and anger.

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The sound of being in a room full of individuals struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder seems incredibly intimidating at first. But studies show the efficacy rate of group therapy is higher than expected. Many people with PTSD show vast improvement after committing to attending group therapies.

Living alone with trauma is burdensome. But with group therapy, individuals find validation in peers battling with PTSD as well. There is comfort in knowing that you are not suffering alone. It is genuinely validating to know that others are also going through it and experiencing how it feels.

Group therapy offers a sense of security and safety, serving as a solid rock of support for PTSD. It is an avenue for the victims to freely and openly share their hardships, confide in their situations with no judgment. Group therapy also facilitates the exchange of ideas, skills, and knowledge to cope with the disorder.

If you are interested, you may check with your current therapist or mental health practitioner for PTSD group therapies near your area. Your therapist will be able to match you with a perfect group with the right course of treatment.