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What are treatments for PTSD?

Effective treatments for PTSD include both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

Psychotherapeutic approaches for patients with PTSD include behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, hypnosis, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). In addition to individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy can be effective approaches. Group therapy offers the advantages of sharing of traumatic experiences and support from other group members. Family therapy often helps sustain a marriage or partnership through periods of exacerbated symptoms.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) reduce symptoms from all PTSD symptoms and are considered first-line treatments for PTSD. Other drugs shown to be effective include tricyclic drugs imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline (Elavil). Other drugs that may be useful in the treatment of PTSD include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and anticonvulsants.

Do Many People with PTSD Have Other Mental Health Conditions?

Yes. Approximately two-thirds of individuals with PTSD have at least two other mental health disorders. Common comorbid conditions include depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorders. These disorders make people more vulnerable to developing PTSD.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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